SpaceX founder Elon Musk said he likes US President Donald Trump’s idea for a military space force, suggesting it would be a good idea to set up “defense” bases on Mars and the Moon.
The entrepreneur, who also founded Tesla, delved into his business plans for the coming year in an interview on the Recode Decode podcast. As conversation weaved between Tesla and SpaceX, Musk laid bare his admiration for Trump’s tentatively named Space Force.
“This may be a little controversial but I like the idea. I think it is cool,” Musk said. “When the Air Force was formed there was a lot of ‘poo pooing’ – how silly – because the aircraft in World War II were managed by the army. But it became pretty obvious that you needed a specialized division. I think it’s going to become obvious that we should have a Space Force too.”
When asked to elaborate on exactly what for, Musk bluntly said: “You know, it’s basically defense in space,” quickly adding that “I think also it could be pretty helpful for maybe expanding our civilization … You know, expanding things beyond Earth.”
Trump’s proposal of an army in space brought widespread ridicule when he suggested it earlier this year.
“We are actually thinking of a sixth [military branch], and that would be the Space Force,” the US leader said during a ceremony at the White House in March this year. “Space is a warfighting domain, just like the land, air and sea. We may even have a space force, develop another one, we have army, the navy,” Trump later followed up.
For Musk, the idea seems to go well with his futuristic vision of space-faring humanity – and that of a Martian base in particular.
“I think we should have a base on the moon, for example. A base on Mars. It would be great to expand on the idea of a Space Force” he added. “The idea of being out there among the stars is very exciting.”
While an intriguing prospect, Musk and Trump would have to get around Article IV of the Outer Space Treaty, signed first by the US, UK and then-Soviet Union back in 1967. It prevents weapons and military bases being built on the Moon and other celestial bodies.
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