Goodbye cruel world — Leonardo DiCaprio is planning a trip to Mars
He’s been mauled by a grizzly bear, infiltrated the darkest corners of organized crime in Boston, and faced down Daniel Day-Lewis’ mustache and lived to tell the tale. But Leonardo DiCaprio’s upcoming trip to Mars might be his biggest challenge yet. The announcement came during a panel on climate change with DiCaprio, climate scientist Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, and President Barack Obama at the White House’s tech and music festival, South by South Lawn (SXSL), which was modeled on Austin’s annual film and music festival South by Southwest (SXSW).
Hayhoe was talking about how to get the general public to engage more with climate change issues, concluding that the most effective way to facilitate such engagement was to relate the science of climate change to “what’s in our hearts.” She then emphasized that anyone who was “a human living on this planet” would have to deal with these problems, and that so-called solutions like billionaire Elon Musk’s proposal to build a human civilization on Mars were, essentially, crazy pants; likewise, Hayhoe said, the people who’d signed up for his inaugural Mars trip were also crazy pants.
That’s when DiCaprio interjected, “I did.” Although Obama said, “I think he’ll acknowledge he’s crazy,” DiCaprio didn’t go back on his statement. So maybe the (finally) Oscar-winning actor will be going to Mars after all. If 20-year-old models are ever discovered there, we’ll lose him forever.
That’s assuming Musk succeeds in launching his drive to colonize Mars in the first place. Cost estimates for a manned mission to Mars range from $200 billion at the low end to $1.5 trillion at the high end, which is more money than Musk can comfortably part with and is way too vague to present as a feasible funding proposal. He also has a poor record when it comes to meeting product delivery deadlines, often missing them by several years. For example, his electric car company, Tesla, announced its Model S car in 2008 with a plan to start production in 2010, but the Model S didn’t hit the market until 2012. In 2011, he said his space travel company SpaceX would start putting people on Mars in three years, but… well, we’re still waiting.
However, maybe SpaceX should take a few more years before shipping us to Mars, given that its rockets have a habit of exploding. One exploded mid-flight in June 2015 and another exploded on the launch pad in September 2016. Thankfully, no human crew members were on board; in fact, as The Verge points out, SpaceX has never carried people on any of its craft. Not sure if a trip to colonize Mars is the time to start.
If Musk’s Mars trip isn’t going ahead, DiCaprio will just have to do his environmental activism and method acting here. Besides, the quietly tragic story of a mission to Mars that ended before it began could make a hell of a movie. In fact, there might even be another Oscar in it.