Jurassic Park movies made it clear for us, that ‘Life finds a way.’ The asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs about 65 million years ago slammed into the Earth with the equivalent power of 10 billion atomic bombs, charred trees thousands of miles away, and triggered a mega-tsunami, found a study in 2019. The research, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, looks at hundreds of feet of rocks that filled the impact crater within the first 24 hours after impact. Scientists believed that the asteroid impact in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico started wildfires, triggered tsunamis, and sent out so much sulphur into the planet’s atmosphere that it blocked out the sun, and caused global cooling which ultimately killed the dinosaurs. The study noted that within hours of the asteroid impact, much of the material filling the crater was either produced at the impact site or was swept in by seawater drawn into the crater by the mega-tsunami.
“Not all the dinosaurs died that day, but many dinosaurs did," said one of the scientists who worked on the study. Would the circumstances for the other remaining dinosaurs have changed if the course of evolution for these species sped up, to the point where they could have been as advanced as the human race in technological aspects? Tesla CEO, SpaceX boss and supporter of wild conspiracy theories, Elon Musk certainly thinks so.
In a reply to a meme about Dinosaurs (which he posted himself) he mentioned how “If only they had spaceships, they’d still be around."
If only they had spaceships, they’d still be around— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 26, 2021
While this may sound ironic and a joke, Musk’s real goals aren’t too far from the suggestion, ‘Put it in a spaceship.’
Elon Musk has mentioned his plans of taking humans to Mars for a while - and he finally has a timeline for it. “Five and a half years," he mentioned in February. While that’s not a hard deadline. Musk listed a number of caveats — there’s a raft of technological advances that must be made in the intervening years. “The important thing is that we establish Mars as a self-sustaining civilization," he said.
The strange thing is the deadline may be a little ambitious, as even USA’s leading space agency, NASA, had a much more different date, one which is seven years after Musk’s time. The Perseverance uncrewed rover will arrive later this month to take rock samples and search for signs of ancient life on the Red Planet - but the first humans aren’t due to arrive on a NASA funded rocket until at least 2033.
Musk has also been at the receiving end of critique for his ‘send it to space’ approach: A billboard near the SpaceX headquarters may be proof that not everyone seems to agree with Musk’s interplanetary plans and would rather focus on saving the earth. A Los Angeles creative agency Activista placed a billboard outside SpaceX’s California headquarters which reads “Mars Sucks." “What doesn’t suck? Earth. But the way we treat it frankly, sucks," the company explained on Twitter. “And then, you dream of Mars. A hellhole. A barren, desolate, wasteland you can’t set foot on fast enough. Great, we got to Mars. Now let’s prioritize earth."
The billboard was placed right outside Space X’s campus ahead of Earth Day, 2021, and expresses disappointment over Musk’s focus on Mars rather than restoring Earth.
This is also not his first resistance to the colonizing Mars - earlier this year, Bill Gates had said that he doesn’t see Musk’s solutions as real solutions, “He added that he’s “not a Mars person” and that he doesn’t “think rockets are the solution.” In the interview, he said that companies like Tesla are doing great work on “easy stuff, like passenger cars” but that we need to tackle other industries to make a bigger climate change difference. Gates would also rather spend money on measles vaccines than travelling to space in a rocket. “I’m not going to pay a lot of money because my foundation can buy measles vaccines and save a life for $1,000. So anything I do, I always think, OK, I could spend that $1,000 buying measles vaccine.”
In the catastrophic events that followed the meteor, changes made to the atmosphere triggered global climate change, causing a mass extinction that killed off nearly 75 per cent of life on the planet at the time along with dinosaurs. Assuming most dinosaurs would have been technologically advanced to have a spaceship, sustaining life in space for a long period, in light of the return to earth not being immediately possible, would have still most likely resulted in the extinction of the species.