We Must Expand Life Beyond Our Little Blue Mud Ball—or Go Extinct

Elon Musk? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote investigator: Controversial and path-breaking entrepreneur Elon Musk started the rocket company SpaceX because he is passionate about traveling to Mars. He said something like: If mankind does not get off of this mud ball then it will go extinct. Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote investigator: In 2008 Elon Musk wrote a piece for “Esquire” that discussed the dangers facing humanity. Emphasis added to excerpt: 1

The next big moment will be life becoming multiplanetary, an unprecedented adventure that would dramatically enhance the richness and diversity of our collective consciousness. It would also serve as a hedge against the myriad–and growing–threats to our survival. An asteroid or a supervolcano could certainly destroy us, but we also face risks the dinosaurs never saw: An engineered virus, nuclear war, inadvertent creation of a micro black hole, or some as-yet-unknown technology could spell the end of us. Sooner or later, we must expand life beyond our little blue mud ball–or go extinct.

(Great thanks to K whose inquiry led QI to formulate this question and perform this exploration.)


  1. Website: Esquire, Article title: Elon Musk: Entrepreneur on the grandest scale (cars, alternative energy, space), Article author: Elon Musk, Date on website: October 1, 2008, Website description: Men’s Style website from Hearst Communications, Inc. (Accessed therestisnoise.com on February 4, 2014) link