Plot­ting to colonise the red planet


Stuff Singapore - - INNOVATORS -


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.

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