Elon Musk has made no secret of his ambitions for Mars over the years. He has said that he “would like to die on Mars, just not on impact.” He has also indicated that he would like to start sending his Starship spacecraft to Mars as early as 2024, though of course that depends heavily on how soon SpaceX can bring the combination rocket and spacecraft to fully operational status.
Musk has already sold his three Bel-Air homes to a developer as part of downsizing his personal possessions. This may be part of his move out of California as part of his dispute with the state over its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. He has indicated that he would like to use the money for projects like missions to Mars, development of sustainable energy production capacity, and the ethical development of AI.
He is not just selling to random buyers, however. He had this to say about a home formerly owned by a favorite actor:
Mars is Musk’s top priority, however, as he told Axel Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner in a December interview. He said that he is willing to sell most of his material possessions in order to fund it.
“It’s going to take a lot of resources to build a city on Mars. … That means just a lot of capital,” he said.
In recent tweets, he revealed that he does still own one home that he rents out for events. He implied that he would consider selling it to a “big family” that can get more use out of it if he ever decides to sell his remaining home. He also indicated that he currently rents a home in Boca Chica that is owned by SpaceX and he says is worth about $50,000.
In the wake of leaked tax information that indicates that several billionaires paid very little in income taxes comparative to their growing wealth, Musk did seem to roll his eyes at criticism that he’s a wealthy billionaire who cares only about owning large homes and said that one of his goals is to have very few assets of any significant value outside of shares in his companies:
“People will attack me and say, oh, he’s got all these possessions. He’s got all these houses. OK, now I don’t have them anymore.”
(For the record, the tax information does indicate that Musk paid $455 million in income taxes between 2014 and 2018. He has also said that he will continue to pay the appropriate amount of taxes in California despite moving to Texas.)
He has indicated that he would like to transform the area into a “company town” that he calls Starbase, although some longtime Boca Chica residents appear to oppose this plan. Some residents have even gone so far as to accuse SpaceX personnel of harassing them after they refused an offer to sell their homes, which SpaceX denies even though it has paid for some allegedly related damage.
SpaceX President Glynn Shotwell has also indicated that funding for sending people to Mars is also a major reason for SpaceX’s aggressive push to launch enough Starlink satellites to provide Internet access to all of Earth. Despite wrangling with competitors like ViaSat and OneWeb with regulators acting as a referee, SpaceX stands a good chance of snagging a healthy market share of what Shotwell calls a potential $1 trillion market. Besides providing reliable high-speed Internet to communities that have been left out by lack of investment in Internet infrastructure, this could go a long way toward funding missions to Mars without having to depend on taxpayer dollars.
Elon Musk indicated that he would like to send 1 million people to Mars by 2050 and build a fleet of 1,000 Starship spacecraft to get them there. He has mentioned that he would like to get the cost of sending people to Mars as low as $500,000 per person – doable if the future settlers are willing to sell their possessions to pay for a ticket, as people who moved to the frontier have done in the past. Musk has expressed a willingness to do his part by selling his Earthly belongings to help fund the effort.