Let’s move to Mars! Elon Musk and his team at SpaceX are not joking. And they’re not wild-eyed dreamers either.

Yesterday, Elon addressed a crowd at the International Astronautical Congress in Mexico, giving details of how his company plans to use the technology they’ve been developing to begin a century-long campaign to properly colonise Mars (watch the full hour presentation here). This was no science-fiction symposium – it was a genuine plan to do a real thing. He believes that it’s time for us to begin to work towards being a multi-planetary species.

Just before his presentation, Musk’s team released this video:

He claimed that although the videos were CGI they were generated by Space X’s engineering CAD program (Computer Assisted Design) and are based on actual plans and science that Space X is already working on.

How to get a million people to move to Mars

The keys to this bold plan of building a massive city of a million people on Mars include building a massive fleet of 1,000 reusable space ships to make supply and resupply of a Mars colony almost continuous. Secondly, each of these spaceships would be huge – in fact, the largest ever built. The third key is the ability to refuel space ships in space, which would dramatically reduce costs. In fact, Space X want to bring the cost down to about $200,000 per person (one way, of course).

SpaceX on MarsElon concluded his presentation by calling on everyone to help make this dream a reality. He believes that the more organisations that work on space-related endeavours the better, whether they compete with SpaceX or collaborate. The more people working to solve the problems of multi-planetary living the better. He says that even the entertainment industry should play a role in this mission, by getting people excited about the possibility of going to Mars and building popular support for what SpaceX is trying to do. It’s about sparking people’s imagination.

When you listen to his calm, even dulcet tones, you find yourself believing. You want him to succeed. And, like him, you want to be alive to see it happen.

He shouldn’t have any problems finding people to answer his call for top talent to join his team. In a moment of beautiful understatement, he said “this is, after all, an idea worth getting out of bed for in the morning.” And, of course, he will be able to use all the engineering genius he amasses at Space X to inform the work he’s doing at Tesla and his new battery factory, which should help his cash flow just a bit. But then he explains: “I really don’t have any other motivation for personally accumulating assets other than to make the biggest contribution I can to making life multi-planetary.”

Elon went to the same high school as my brother did in Pretoria, South Africa – they were just a few years apart. Even back then he had a reputation of having his head in the stars. This has been an abiding lifelong passion for him, and one that his engineering brilliance has made possible through clever and fortuitous investments and business building.

So what?

My business colleague, Dean van Leeuwen, wrote a book last year called “Quest“, about how leaders can inspire their teams to massive improvements and significant achievements. He mentioned Elon Musk, of course, but I think even he was blown away today as we saw the enormity of Elon Musk’s Quest.

We can learn from this. If we want to inspire and motivate our people, we too need to find ways to create quests in our workplaces.

[bctt tweet=”If we want to motivate our people, we too need to find ways to create quests in our workplaces.” username=”Tomorrowtrends”]

We can’t all move to Mars (and we don’t have SpaceX’s budget either). But we can create quests anyway. We can inspire people to dream big dreams, to think about how they can change the world and to find things to inspire them to get out of bed with enthusiasm each morning.

And just remember as you wake up tomorrow morning: You now live in a world that includes a few people who plan to live and die on another planet. For real.

Sign me up.


You can purchase a copy of our book ‘Quest – Competitive Advantage and the Art of Leadership in the 21st Century’ here or chat to us for enquiries for bulk orders, or to book Dean for our  Quest keynote presentation.


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