Most of us harbour one or two modest ambitions. Declutter the spare room. Learn a language. Drink less. Or, if you’re Musk, figure out a way to establish human life on Mars to save civilisation. Actually, that’s just one of several side projects on which the South African-born tech billionaire focuses his laser-beam intelligence. Musk runs companies that specialise in electric and self-driving cars, solar energy, artificial intelligence and brain-computer interfaces. Should it ever come to fruition, his much-hyped Hyperloop – a super-high-speed electromagnetic transit tunnel – would be an entirely new means of locomotion. Such relentless energy might be a little wearisome to mere mortals. While perhaps his technical advances are still to be felt in our lives, his near super-human presence has already been ingrained in popular culture. Famously, he was the inspiration for Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man and appeared as himself in an episode of The Simpsons, blasting off into space from the family’s backyard. Right down to his improbable name, Musk has become the ultimate figurehead for the future of travel and how we will live not just tomorrow but in the decades to come.