Having overshot its planned Mars orbit, Elon Musk’s cherry red roadster is hurtling on in space towards the asteroid belt nearer Jupiter. This might appear the most egotistical journey with endless playing of David Bowie’s Life on Mars into the ears of the Starman in the convertible’s driver’s seat. The significance, however, lies in the boy from South Africa who came to the US via Canada realising his wildest dreams in building an aerospace exploration firm that can deliver launches with the heaviest rocket in history at about one-tenth what it costs Nasa, perhaps more economical than Isro’s user-friendly satellite launch costs. The trailblazing deep space mission that sent back two boosters to Earth for reuse raises immense possibilities once envisaged only in the Isaac Asimov’s imaginative sci-fi works.
The idea is to land the first humans on Mars before half this century ends. Such a yearning reflects how much we have denuded our planet that we consider readying a set of intrepid explorers to colonise space, with humanity’s endlessly greedy use depleting our finite resources. Stephen Hawking said for years that humans’ chances of perpetuity would be to leave Earth, which might be struck with great catastrophes like the one decimating the dinosaurs. SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy is probably the first baby step to saving the human race, which seems bent on hurtling towards Armageddon. It appears logical that Man's successive conquests of science would also give him the brainpower needed to stave off disasters. But it’s probably better to spend on grandiose Musk visions than trust our basic quest of survival of the species, perhaps still the most intelligent in our part of the Universe till today.