Multimillionaire Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of SpaceX, who announced last October that his company hoped to send a manned spacecraft to Mars in 2024, may have been prophesised to venture on this ambition back in the 1950s.
A passage from a book, Mars Project: A Technical Tale (Das Marsprojekt) by German-American rocket physicist Wernher Von Braun has resurfaced after being quoted on social media.
The astronautical engineer and space architect who initially worked on Nazi Germany's rocket development programme only to end up being whisked away to the US to help develop rockets that launched America’s first space satellite, Explorer 1, had been a passionate advocate of a human mission to Mars.
After WWII the pioneer of rocket and space technology in the United States penned a book speculating about life on Mars.
A passage from the book was quoted in a Twitter thread at the end of last year, after Elon Musk had cryptically tweeted on 30 December that “there was no escaping Destiny”, referencing a quote from Mel Brooks’ 1974 movie, "Young Frankenstein."
Destiny, destiny— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 30, 2020
that for me
A Twitter user going by the name of Toby Li, who writes for Muskette, a blog devoted to news about the Tesla CEO, responded to Musk’s Twitter post.
Speaking about destiny, did you know that Von Braun's 1953 book "Mars Project," referenced a person named Elon that would bring humans to Mars? Pretty nuts pic.twitter.com/m28yFU4Ip6— Toby Li (@tobyliiiiiiiiii) December 30, 2020
He cited a German-language excerpt from Von Braun's 1953 book, which mentioned a person named “Elon” that would “bring humans to Mars”. It was translated to English by US Navy Lt. Cdr. Henry J. White in 1953.
Indeed, in his science fiction novel von Braun wrote about a so-called representative democracy on Mars where the leader is called an “Elon”, with the latter not so much a name as a title.
Are we sure this is real?— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 30, 2020
Found an English pdf version if anyone would like to give it a read. Highly recommend.https://t.co/Xe7881IdSi— Toby Li (@tobyliiiiiiiiii) January 2, 2021
"The Martian government was directed by ten men, the leader of whom was elected by universal suffrage for five years and titled ‘Elon.’ Two houses of Parliament enacted the laws to be administered by the Elon and his cabinet," wrote the author, according to a translation of the passage.
Yeah it's real. This is the English transcript of the same book ... But "Elon" referred by Von Braun in the book isn't the name of the person but rather the name of the position something like an elected meritocratic president pic.twitter.com/GADiMJHxLp— Pranay Pathole (@PPathole) December 30, 2020
The book offers a fictional account of how life on Mars arrived, beginning with the original idea, conceived in a mission planning room on Earth.
‘Starship’ to Mars
Elon Musk, who said at the International Mars Society Convention in 2020 that his more prominent goal was to build a self-sustaining city on Mars, recently took to Twitter to say that launching an uncrewed flight mission in 2024 was “not out of the question”.
2024 is not out of the question for an uncrewed flight— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 6, 2021
Musk, who earlier this year responded to criticism of his huge wealth by Senator Bernie Sanders, saying on Twitter he would use his money to help “to help make life multiplanetary”, had been responding to a variety of questions about the expected launch date of his mission to Mars.
I am accumulating resources to help make life multiplanetary & extend the light of consciousness to the stars— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 21, 2021
The mission is on track to launch to the Red Planet on a SpaceX Starship vehicle, a reusable rocket-and-spacecraft combo currently under development at the company's South Texas facility.