In an interview with IFLScience, Neil deGrasse Tyson is asked about the Mars One project and its founder, Bas Lansdorp…

Tyson: I value dreamers, even if they’re kind of floating above the ground, not really connected in the way the rest of us are. The dreamer moves the needle, even a little bit. To get to Mars in the way he describes you need innovations. So if it stimulates someone to innovate, even if they don’t successfully achieve that goal, then I think there is still value to it.

IFLS: Do you think Mars One’s goals are realistic?

Tyson: The way he described them to me, I can see how it could happen, perhaps not on the timescale that he recommended. But I can see it happening by virtue of how he described the staging of the plan, where you would send cargo out there first, with supplies, food, water, and at some later time the crew comes, so the crew doesn’t have to be launched in a vehicle that contains all the weight that traveling with everything you need would require. These are fundamental elements of what it is to explore. And without exploration I think we should all just move back to the cave!

IFLS: Will we really get humans to Mars within the next 20 years?

Tyson: I’ll give you two ways in which we will be at Mars in 10 months. One is if we find oil in Mars (*chuckles*). And I joke about the other one: suppose the Chinese decide they want to put a military base on Mars. It doesn’t have to be real, they just need to leak a memo suggesting that. We would go berserk and design, build and fund a new spaceship in a month and have it above Mars in 10 months.

Read the entire IFLScience piece here. Tyson’s “Star Talk” show returns to the National Geographic Channel tonight.

Previously on Harris Online…