Plotting to colonise the red planet
Elon Musk is about as close to a real-life Tony Stark as we have. He’s a Willy Wonka of tech, concocting plans (probably from a volcano lair in the Pacific) before unleashing them on the public.
But rather than sending overweight German children up industrial pipes he’s mainly sending stuff into space. Musk sold his first product at 12 years old – he got US$500 for a videogame he’d written called Blastar after teaching himself to code – but it was the sale of PayPal in 2002 that put him on Stuff’s map. Since then he’s reinvented the electric car, banishing associations with milk floats and the G-Wiz courtesy of Tesla’s Roadster and seven-seater Model S, and set up SpaceX – a private space exploration company that aims to one day colonise Mars. “I see us going to Mars in about 10-11 years,” he told Stuff earlier this year, “and in a really big spaceship, not a little thing.”
Musk compares that proposed first trip to the red planet to the English colonising America and envisions setting up a city home to millions of people, with homes, jobs and (probably) pet Martians. You know, just in case we accidentally destroy Earth. In short, he’s a man with ambitions to match the size of his fortune.
If he sounds like the twin brother of a Bond villain, that’s not a million miles from the truth. Musk recently spent some of his immense wealth on the actual submarine Lotus Esprit used in The Spy Who Loved Me and is building his own: “We’ve even joked about having a submarine-plane-car.” That’s a joke we can’t wait to see the punchline for.