Elon Musk, father of 12, volunteers his own sperm to help seed a colony on Mars 

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Elon Musk has devoted hundreds of hours and millions of dollars to his obsession with colonizing Mars. Now, he has also volunteered his own sperm to help seed the colony, according to the New York Times

Musk—who has 12 children on Earth—is all-in on a plan to colonize Mars within this generation, the Times wrote. 

In April, he told SpaceX employees that in only 20 years, one million people will live in a Martian city. No human has set foot on Mars as of 2024, though various rovers and other robotic expeditions have visited the planet. 

A NASA official said in May that the agency didn’t expect to land humans on Mars until the 2040s. Yet, the same month, Musk posted on X that it would take less than 10 years to send people there. 

“For sure in 30, civilization secured,” he wrote.

Musk has employees working more than 100 hours a week in windowless rooms to engineer every element of the plan, from the design of small-dome habitats to spacesuits to child-rearing on the planet. 

In 2013, Musk told Raw Science T.V. that he would like to create his own species uniquely bred to survive Mars’ harsh conditions.

“I think it’s quite likely that we’d want to bioengineer new organisms that are better suited to living on Mars,” he said in the interview. “Humanity’s kind of done that over time, by sort of selective breeding.”

The billionaire has repeated the idea to SpaceX employees and others close to him over the years, according to the New York Times. Research is already underway on gene-editing to select for radiation-resistant traits in humans, which would help them survive on Mars, experts told Wired. 

While the idea may sound otherworldly, and to some, reminiscent of eugenics, it is part of a broader ideology that Musk and some of his Silicon Valley peers prescribe to: pronatalism. 

Pronatalist ideology

For years, the SpaceX CEO has sounded the alarm about an “underpopulation crisis” here on Earth. 

Last year, after China announced its birth rate was plummeting, Musk tweeted: “Population collapse due to low birth rates is a much bigger risk to civilization than global warming…mark these words.”  In the summer of 2022, he said the declining birth rates seen in many nations presented “the biggest danger civilization faces by far.”

Yet, while the global pace of population growth is starting to slow, the UN has said that declining fertility rates–which Musk warns of–are not necessarily a sign of coming population collapse. 

“With roughly 83 million people being added to the world’s population every year, the upward trend in population size is expected to continue, even assuming that fertility levels will continue to decline,” the UN wrote about its 2017 population forecast report.

Still, that has not stopped Musk and his Silicon Valley peers from panicking about underpopulation. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has invested in multiple reproductive technology startups, one of which aims to test genetic engineering embryos for health outcomes. “Of course I’m going to have a big family,” Altman said. “I think having a lot of kids is great.” 

Skype co-founder and billionaire Jaan Tallinn, who has five children, donated just under half a million dollars to a foundation started by prominent pronatalists Malcolm and Simone Collins. The couple was the subject of a scathing Guardian article released in May, which depicted their parenting of seven children as numbers-oriented and unsentimental. 

Musk is their pronatalist “king,” Malcolm Collins said in the piece. 

“I mean – the most powerful, most wealthy person in the world advocating for your cause helps a lot,” he said. 

Short of utilizing his sperm to colonize Mars, Musk has taken the cause on in a very personal matter. 

After a Business Insider report leaked that he had secretly fathered twins with a top executive at his brain-implant technology company, Neuralink, Musk posted his response on X, formerly Twitter:

“Doing my best to help the population crisis,” he wrote.

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