Enlarge / SpaceX's stacked Starship vehicle complete with its impressive launch tower. (credit: Trevor Mahlmann)
STARBASE, Texas—Shortly after SpaceX founder Elon Musk completed a 75-minute presentation on Starship Thursday evening, I huddled with a few veteran space reporters. What, we discussed, were the headlines from the event? No one was sure, as we agreed that Musk had not really broken any news.
In his speech, Musk repeated themes he has touched on in the past about why SpaceX is building the Starship vehicle to settle Mars and why this is important to humanity. There were two primary reasons, Musk reiterated. First, there is the life insurance rationale. Although the chance of a planet-wide calamity extinguishing our species is low, it is not zero.
For the first time in 4.5 billion years, a creature living on Earth has the ability to do something about this threat by helping humanity to become a spacefaring species. We ought to seize the opportunity, he said. "To be frank, civilization is feeling a little bit fragile right now," Musk said.