If you’ve been watching the news lately, escaping this planet to reset human civilization on Mars probably sounds pretty damn good right about now. Fortunately, quite a few interested parties are investing vast sums of time and money into making this landmark journey for our species a reality.

For those of us who almost certainly won’t be included in the mass exodus to the Red Planet, MyBookie is offering the next best thing:

We can bet on the first organization to successfully send humans to Mars!

  • Today, Elon Musk’s Space X is favored to win the race to our neighboring planet.
  • Next is Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’s organization at +400 moneyline odds.

Are you noticing a pattern?

If mankind hopes to reach Mars in the relatively near future, the oddsmakers believe it’s going to be Earth’s wealthiest entrepreneurs’ private ventures that make it happen.

1st Organization to Send Humans to Mars Betting Odds
Space X -400
Blue Origin +400
Boeing +500
Space Force +20000
NASA +2500
Russia +3900
China +7500
United Arab Emirates +17500
Field +10000

Bad Sign for Most of Us

Before I sat down to write this article, I watched about a dozen YouTube videos and read roughly twice as many articles about various Mars projects. It would appear we’ve entered a new space race, with numerous businesses and countries investing heavily in humanity’s next frontier.

Why are the world’s wealthiest countries and people suddenly in such a rush to find a new home?

Observing Bezos’s modus operandi from afar, he doesn’t seem too interested in doing things altruistically for the benefit of all humanity. After all, this is a man who could wake up on any given day and personally end world hunger if he wanted, yet the thought evidently never occurs to him.

And, really, the same goes for Musk and the oil-rich Sheikhs from UAE. If it were about legacy alone, again, I think ending poverty and world hunger would go just as far towards landing their names in the world history books for millennia.

The last guy who made an honest effort towards similar goals has been worshipped for 2,000 years. (In fairness, he died a pretty gnarly death at the hands of his own society’s rich and powerful – but still…)

So, I suspect etching their names in the annals of human history is secondary to the real mission.

I think they’re trying to escape!

From what are they running — who knows?

‘Lotta Maybes

  • Maybe global warming is about to be an even bigger problem than the rulers of this planet are letting on.
  • Maybe robots and AI are close enough to implementation to render the working masses obsolete, and the shot-callers would prefer to fly elsewhere and start their utopia than kill everyone on Earth, so they’ll leave us all to fend for ourselves instead.
  • Maybe a giant asteroid or other pieces of space debris is headed our way, and they’re trying to evacuate before it’s here.
  • Maybe these megalomaniacal billionaires want to get to Mars first to stake their claim and be the god-king of a new civilization without as much competition or pesky historical precedents.

Whatever the case, by the time regular shlubs like you and me have a decent idea of what’s going on, I’m guessing the sky will be littered with the glow of their space shuttles’ engines, ferrying the Earth’s 0.01% to their new home.

Things to Consider

Before we get into the individual betting lines being offered at MyBookie, I think there are some primary factors worth considering. The ongoing Mars projects are more complicated than a bunch of independent investors racing each other to be the first organization to bring humans next door.

Timing

For as long as we’re using rocket propulsion systems, voyages from Earth to Mars will only be feasible when the two planets are closest together. This occurs every two years.

So, any delay to a trip tentatively scheduled for 2024 pushes the project back to 2026, even if it’s a relatively simple fix. When you’re betting on who will be the “first” to do something, these kinds of details are vital.

Elon Musk’s plan to deliver two Starship crews to Mars in 2024 could easily be pushed back due to a range of variables. The two-year delay any such issue would cause might be ample time for a competitor to close the gap ahead of 2026.

Public-Private Joint Ventures

The bets offered by MyBookie may get confusing when it comes to joint projects between the governmental agencies like NASA – and in the future, the Space Force – and private corporations like Space X and Blue Origin.

It was the first mission in history in which NASA astronauts were sent to the space station by a private entity. These cooperative programs will likely be the key to Americans winning the race to colonize Mars – if they do, in fact, win.

For decades, the US space program has been hamstrung by politics.

One President promises to reinvest in missions to the moon, Mars, and outer space in general, then four years later, their successor cuts the budget or redirects NASA’s priorities. It’s resulted in much less getting done than had we maintained the levels of commitment and enthusiasm that drove the 1960’s moon landings.

Having independently wealthy benefactors with whom to partner will be an enormous benefit to NASA. Companies like Boeing, Lockheed, and Raytheon will be equally essential to the more militaristic Space Force.

I’m guessing wager outcomes will be determined by how the media covers the event. A NASA crew manning a Space X rocket will probably be celebrated as an Elon Musk achievement, and thus Space X bettors will be paid out.

Willingness to Risk Human Life

When it comes to a mission as risky as this, it’s advantageous to be an organization that can take bigger risks, despite possible casualties.

NASA has always had to take the most precaution; a government agency can’t be as careless with people’s lives, especially while relying on taxpayer money. One tragic accident can become a political issue, resulting in canceled programs and slashed budgets.

Private companies have a bit more leeway in that regard.

As long as everyone involved knew the risk and signed waivers before a catastrophe, they could probably weather the storm, assuming it wasn’t the fault of blatant carelessness.

Then there’s what China can get away with.

It’s an extremely nationalistic country with an authoritarian one-party government and a populous who prioritizes the collective good over individualism. They also have billions of people making up their scientific research and development talent pool.

If Elon Musk’s efforts are pushed back to 2026 or 2028, you may see the Chinese space program rushing to complete a project and launch a manned craft before Space X.

If a mission has a 50/50 chance of success, they can get away with rolling the dice, where Musk can’t justify a launch without a much higher probability of survival.

It might sound callous, but the ability to take bigger chances with people’s lives is an enormous advantage in this competition.

Far-Out Possibilities

Then there’s always my inner conspiracy theorist who’s skeptical of the reality the public is sold. It’s that part of my brain that wonders if human beings haven’t already visited Mars.

Bob Lazar comes to mind.

He claims to have worked at a top-secret base near Area 51 with spacecraft powered by antimatter propulsion that they recovered from extraterrestrials. They somehow used a stable isotope of Element 115 as fuel.

At the time of Lazar’s initial claims, a chemical element with the atomic number 115 had not yet been created.

It wasn’t synthesized until 2003, and there’s still never been a stable isotope made.

Lazar claims the antimatter reactors generate a gravity wave, bending light around the craft. The ships could envelop themselves in a distortion field, using systems of gravity amplifiers and gravity emitters, that allowed them to travel at the speed of light without working against gravitational forces.

The Bob Lazar case is fascinating because he’s later been proven correct on several claims he made back in 1989. For example, Element 115 ended up being possible to synthesize. He also accurately described security systems that weren’t publicly known in the 80s and 90s but were verified to exist much later.

Body language experts have watched his videos and determined he’s been honest as well. Furthermore, government agents have occasionally raided Lazar’s house and lab.

Reading Between the Lines

(What I’ve pieced together from details of his decades of interviews is that he snuck a small quantity of the stable Element 115 liquid out of the base when he was fired.)

(What I’ve pieced together from details of his decades of interviews is that he snuck a small quantity of the stable Element 115 liquid out of the base when he was fired.)

Supposing any part of his story is remotely legitimate, I’d imagine the government is concerned there’s a dead man’s switch in play and don’t want to whack or disappear the guy before they’ve secured the stolen materials.

Or he could be a maniac who they haven’t bothered with because he’s making stuff up and is of no consequence.

Whatever the case, for the sake of this betting market, I’ll assume the rocket-propelled technology being used by the organizations on which we may wager is at the cutting edge of what’s currently possible.

Private US Companies

SpaceX (-400)

Of the three private corporations – SpaceX, Boeing, and Blue Origin – Elon Musk’s company is the rightful favorite to deliver human beings to Mars. He’s operating at a far speedier pace than either of his rivals.

SpaceX winning the contract with NASA to send its astronauts to the international space station was a monumental sign that Musk’s creation leads the race.

Reaching Orbit

Neither Blue Origin nor Boeing has ever launched a rocket into orbit; the furthest Bezo’s rockets have reached is just past the Karman Line, the internationally-recognized boundary of space.

SpaceX first went into orbit in 2008!

The main difference is the companies’ goals.

Blue Origin (+400)

Blue Origin imagines itself as the Tortoise from The Tortoise and the Hare fable. Bezos sells $1 billion or more of his Amazon stock annually to pump into the company, which allows it to operate on a slower timeline.

SpaceX is in a constant rush to reach critical milestones, to win lucrative contracts with NASA, which fund the company.

The three companies also have different motivations driving their projects.

Jeff Bezos wants to colonize the moon, create self-contained space colonies, and build space flight infrastructure closer to home first. The next generation will then use the foundation he’s laid to regularize travel to more distant locations like Mars.

Boeing (+500)

Boeing is a massive publicly-traded company with tons of bureaucracy and its hands in lots of pots. It’s NASA contracts aren’t anywhere near as valuable as manufacturing commercial airliners and weapons systems.

In the most recent race against Space X, NASA officials were quite disappointed with Boeing’s conceptions versus Musk’s.


The reason SpaceX is so far ahead is because of Elon Musk.

He believes humanity only has a small window of opportunity to get off the planet before it’s too late. He also cares more about succeeding and reaching Mars than building a profitable company.

Between the pace at which Elon’s pushing his organization and the top-down vision, with the CEO also acting as the lead engineer, none of the other private US companies are very competitive right now.

The Tesla billionaire is willing to scrap legacy projects and build proprietary systems that rethink space travel, giving him an advantage.

At the end of the day, Elon Musk has shown the willingness to take huge risks to make his vision a reality. He’s willing to fail, regroup, and try again. Getting to Mars as quickly as possible – no matter how uncomfortable conditions may be on the Red Planet initially – is SpaceX’s highest priority.

Blue Origin wants to master each step of colonizing space carefully and deliberately. However, you don’t want to count out the world’s richest man. His rockets are close to reaching orbit and plan to do so in 2021.

Imagine SpaceX hits some snags in 2024 or 2026 when they begin sending unmanned craft to deliver supplies to Mars.

In that case, Bezos could benefit from the foundation he’s constructing on the moon and in orbit around Earth, which then allows the Tortoise to pass the Hare ultimately.

China (+7500)

Unless Elon Musk’s most optimistic timelines come true, I think the first human colonies on Mars could come from outside the United States.

All signs point to China replacing the US as the world’s dominant superpower by 2030 or so. While crucial “quality of life” metrics are declining here, China’s middle class is expanding at a rate never before seen in history.

US Gov’t Scared of China’s AI

One reason I think China will win the race to Mars is because of artificial intelligence. The United States government is terrified of their foreign rival cornering the market first in terms of implementing AI systems around the world.

The US government created an organization called the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI).

The purpose of the group is to lead the nation into the “fourth industrial revolution,” which they describe as “a revolution characterized by discontinuous technological development in areas like artificial intelligence (AI), big data, fifth-generation telecommunications networking (5G), nanotechnology and biotechnology, robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), and quantum computing.”

The NSCAI’s primary mission is ensuring that “advance the development of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and associated technologies by the United States to comprehensively address the national security and defense needs of the United States.

In China, the government, military, and corporate sectors are all one. Their citizens also have different expectations regarding personal freedoms. This has allowed the CCP to implement data-collection and security technologies that would be too controversial in America.

I expect China to take a similar approach to colonizing Mars.

Their technological innovations are threatening to lead the way in the implementation of 5G internet and artificial intelligence. Plus, they’re on the ascent – rather than a decline — as a world superpower.

This summer, the Asian nation launched a Long March 5 rocket “carrying a Chinese orbiter, lander and rover on a seven-month voyage to Mars,” which experts claim will “put China on the front lines of interplanetary exploration.”

You also can’t forget that their hackers and spies will probably obtain any technologies required to close the gap between China and NASA/SpaceX.

Once they flip on the AI, it can solve many other issues preventing long space flights to Mars, rocketing the Red Army to the Red Planet before the US billionaires.

At +7500, I think betting on China is a steal.
Assuming Elon Musk doesn’t get to Mars before 2026, the conditions will shift in China’s favor exponentially more every year thereafter.

US Government

If you’re going to bet on a US government agency to win the race to land humans on Mars, the smart money is on the organization that’s part of the military.

NASA’s funding goes through ebbs and flows; the Pentagon’s budget only gets bigger every year. Nothing motivates the US government more than military technologies.

Space Force (+2000)

If a propulsion system faster and more energy-efficient than fuel-combustion rockets is invented, it’s coming from DARPA or some other top-secret military group.

Should SpaceX and Blue Origin stall during the next stages of their missions — building infrastructure in space that can refuel and propel starships towards Mars – the Pentagon could beat them to the punch.

The Space Force will undoubtedly be working with Lockheed Skunkworks and other top-secret operations with access to technologies well-beyond anything that’s reached the public sector.

If those Bob Lazar antimatter reactors are a real thing, these will be the guys using them.

The military is the one area in which the United States still leads the world.

As public agencies like NASA and Social Security, and Medicare all collapse under the crumbling economy in 10 years, after the dollar is dropped as the world’s reserve currency, the Pentagon will still have its same budget.

If the Space Force doesn’t bring the United States to Mars, it’ll be one of the billionaires’ private companies. Wealthy 1%ers and the war machine will be the only parts of American society still thriving over the next couple of decades.

Fading the United States & Companies

Assuming exotic propulsion systems haven’t been discovered yet, and Bob Lazar is a dirty liar, I have to go with China at +7500 to bring the first people to Mars.

They’ll be Earth’s top superpower soon, will be guided by superior AI, and a substantially larger population from which to draw talent. They’ll also take bigger risks with their lives for a chance to make history for their country.

Sounds like the perfect competitor to win a space race!

1st to Land Humans on Mars