Elon Musk explains why he launched a car toward Mars — and the reasons are much bigger than his ego


starman spacesuit tesla roadster car earth space last image elon musk spacex instagram

In February, SpaceX launched an electric car toward Mars using its newest rocket, called Falcon Heavy.
Many people, especially scientists, questioned the choice of payload and destination.
Elon Musk recently responded to critics by saying he chose the car as the payload to inspire people.
At the annual South by Southwest festival, Musk further explained how the stunt fits into his concerns about and ultimate vision for humanity.

Over the weekend, SpaceX founder Elon Musk expanded on his rationale for launching a car toward Mars.

After Musk said in December that he’d launch his cherry-red Tesla Roadster to the red planet, many people did not believe him. But the tech billionaire delivered.

On Feb. 6, SpaceX launched its first-ever Falcon Heavy rocket and shot the electric car into deep space with a spacesuit-clad “Starman” dummy in the driver’s seat. The Tesla will cross the orbit of Mars sometime in July, swing past the orbit of Earth in August 2019, and repeat this roughly nine-month-long cosmic loop for thousands or even millions of years (to the horror of some scientists).

Musk said this was the “silliest thing” he could imagine launching with Falcon Heavy, leading some critics to bring up his ego; after all, it was Musk’s personal car, and one made by a car company he founded.

But Musk tweeted on Saturday that his intention was part of something much bigger.

“Life cannot just be about solving one sad problem after another,” he said. “There need to be things that inspire you, that make you glad to wake up in the morning and be part of humanity. That is why we did it. We did for you.”

In his tweet, Musk included a short movie of the launch with views of Starman, which he also played Sunday during a Q&A session at the South by Southwest festival (SXSW).

During that talk, Musk expanded on his rationale for the stunt and his larger dream for space travel.

“We really wanted to get the public here to wonder, to get excited about the possibility of something new happening in space — of the space frontier getting pushed forward,” Musk told the audience at SXSW. “The goal of this was to inspire you, and make you believe again, just as people believed in the Apollo era, that anything is possible.”

In Musk’s eyes, the Mars-bound Tesla is just the start of a much grander vision for humanity.

How Musk plans to push the space frontier

“Westworld” co-creator Jonathan Nolan, who’s a friend of Musk, joined him at SXSW to moderate and ask audience questions.

During their conversation, Musk said SpaceX is now building a 157-foot-tall “Mars or interplanetary” spaceship, adding that he plans to test-launch it on short “up-and-down flights” before the summer of 2019.

“People have told me that my timelines, historically, have been optimistic,” Musk added. “So I’m trying to recalibrate to some degree here.”

Musk has previously said that spaceship is the hardest element to get right in his most ambitious project: the …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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