Elon Musk Wants Space Bases to Protect Against World War III

The Doomsday Clock, set up in 1947 to gauge the threat level of nuclear Armageddon, is currently as close as it's ever been to midnight. Should it tick two minutes closer to ring in a new world war, serial apocalypse speculator Elon Musk believes humans need to have already established colonies away from Earth.

The SpaceX founder made the stark warning Sunday, just days after Donald Trump said he was preparing to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Speaking at the SXSW conference, Musk said it would be foolish not to prepare for the possibility of another "dark ages" brought about by a third World War.

"We want to make sure that there's enough of a seed of human civilization somewhere else to bring civilization back, and perhaps shorten the length of the dark ages," Musk said.

"I think that's why it's important to get a self-sustaining base, ideally on Mars because Mars is far enough away from Earth...a Mars base is more likely to survive than a Moon base. But I think a moon base and a Mars base that could help regenerate life back here on Earth would be really important and to get that done before a possible World War Three."

As the head of SpaceX, Musk is not simply daydreaming about building a space base. His ambition to take humans to Mars is one he's held for decades and recent success with the launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket have brought this dream closer to reality.

Speaking at the conference about his aerospace company, Musk said that he gave SpaceX a 10 percent chance of succeeding when he first established it. But with no one else working towards his goals, he was happy to gamble billions of dollars of his own money on the venture.

The proof of the rocket is in the launch (and landing) #falconheavy https://t.co/Wa0H7Ox7FG

— armchair flaneur (@FlannelBidon) February 7, 2018

"I just kept wondering why we were not making progress towards sending people to Mars, why we didn't have a base on the moon," Musk said. "Where are the space hotels that we were promised?

"It just wasn't happening year after year, it was getting me down. I'd look at the NASA website and was like, 'where does it say we're going to go to Mars?'—it doesn't."

space base elon musk war
Space bases, like this one proposed by the European Space Agency, could offer refuge to humanity in the event of a major catastrophe. ESA

Read more: Elon Musk's Master Plan is absurd, vague and brilliant

Musk has previously spoken about his ambition to help make humanity a multi-planetary species, citing other threats on Earth like overpopulation, climate change and advanced artificial intelligence.

Musk once again reiterated his concerns about the advent of digital superintelligence, which he described as "the single biggest existential crisis that we face, and the most pressing one." Musk believes the danger posed by AI is much greater than that of nuclear warheads, "by a lot," and called for greater regulation in its development.

If his proclamations prove true, not even space bases would save us.