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Humans will only be able to realize Elon Musk’s dream of colonizing Mars by becoming “a race of cyborgs,” according to Britain’s top astronomer.

Martin Rees, who holds the title of “Royal Astronomer,” told the Telegraph that it could take a couple of generations to create a new race that is capable of withstanding the rigors of the Red Planet.

“Let’s imagine by the end of the century there are little communities away from the Earth,” Rees said.

“By that time, genetic modification and cyber techniques will be far more advanced than today. One hopes they will be regulated here on Earth but these intrepid explorers on Mars will have every incentive to modify themselves.”

Rees continued: “They will use all these techniques to adapt themselves and within a generation or two they may become a different species, a mix of flesh and blood and robot.”

“So a scenario for the next millennium could be that some of the progeny of the pioneer Martian explorers will become cyborgs.”

Illustration of a human astronaut exploring Martian ruins and artifacts
Martin Rees, who is the chief astronomy expert who advises the Queen, said humans would need to evolve into cyborgs in order to survive on Mars.
Getty Images/Collection Mix: Sub

Musk has stated in the past that he believes artificial intelligence will overtake human intelligence, and that the only hope for the human species to survive and compete with AI is to become cyborgs.

“Generally, people underestimate the capability of AI,” Musk said at a conference in Shanghai in 2019.

“They sort of think it’s like a smart human, but it’s going to be much more than that. It’ll be much smarter than the smartest human.”

Musk added: “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”

Astronaut illustration
Rees said it was “delusional” for Elon Musk to believe that humans could migrate to the Red Planet en masse.
Getty Images/Science Photo Libra

Musk is doing his part. His company, Neuralink, aims to implant chips into human brains so as to make humans hyper-intelligent and let paralyzed people walk again. He is also CEO of SpaceX, which is building spacecraft that is designed to conduct interplanetary travel and delivery of cargo.

Rees told the Telegraph that the idea of humans evolving into a post-human race is not far-fetched.

“Most of us, unless we live in Kentucky or somewhere, know we are the outcome of four billion years of evolution,” he said.

Cyborg illustration
Rees said that a version of humans that are “a mix of flesh and blood and robot” would have to develop in order to survive on Mars.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Rees said that Musk’s vision of humans emigrating en masse to Mars was a “dangerous delusion.”

“It is a doddle dealing with climate change compared to terra-firming Mars,” he said.

Rees added: “The phrase ‘space tourism’ should never be used because it will never be risk-free.”

“It should be called ‘space adventure’ for people who like high risks, people who like hang gliding.”


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