We usually don’t do profile pieces, but this is special! I sincerely apologize in advance, if this looks like a deluge of information or a fan boy’s love letter to Elon Musk, I’m sorry, because this is probably just that (Google Sapiosexuality). If you are a science geek and a technology nerd like me you’ll probably already know who I am talking about. He is not your ordinary pop star or reality television celebrity, he is not the president or the dictator; He is just intelligent and that is his superpower because every time this guy is on the news, he has done something that is mind blowing-ly awesome or going to do something like that. When certain news agencies told us that he was the inspiration for Tony Stark in the Iron Man movies, they might not have been wrong but more on that later.
PayPal was only the begging
If you have visited any online stores you might have already seen ‘PayPal’s logo, if you bought something using Paypal, you would know what a brilliant and ground breaking idea it is. When other similar e-payment sites were charging exorbitant rates for online transactions, Paypal gave $25 free credit to every new user! That how aggressive Paypal took over the e-commerce market and the rest is history, Elon Musk was Paypal’s its co-founder! Later e-bay acquired Paypal for $1.5 billion dollars.
What do you do with a lot of money?
Well, most of our answers would not have been ‘Lets launch rockets into space’! That’s exactly what he did, he started his third company Space Exploration Technologies or fondly called by space geeks as SpaceX. You know that a company means business when they name their rockets ‘Falcon’ and their Space craft as ‘Dragon’, they were awarded a $1.6 billion NASA contract in 2008, for 12 flights of their Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station. SpaceX became the first commercially owned company to dock an spacecraft (Dragon) on the International Space Stations, which only governments used to do before that.
If you are a little knowledgeable in rocket science, you might know that rockets are a one shot thing (that statement may sound sarcastic, but its really not), i.e., if you use it, you lose it. That was a major limiting factor for the space industry, they have to make a new rocket every time you want to put some thing in space, but SpaceX is trying to solve that too, they are making re-usable rockets. Check out the video of their prototype Grasshopper(Don’t be fooled by the not-so-legendary name)
If you did not get goosebumbs on seeing this, I’m sorry, your evolution as a space geek is not complete yet; go take your today’s dose of Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
What Next? Tesla – Lets Solve Global Warming
He then co-founded Tesla Motors and is currently the head of product design. Tesla Motors came out with the first all electric sports car, the Tesla Roadster and Later with the Model S which is just mesmerizing to look at. What Ford did to Manufacturing in general, Tesla did that to the electric car market. Before Tesla, electric cars were just eye candy and show pieces for some millionaires, their Model S broke that stereotype with its long range capabilities and affordable pricing. Once you buy a Tesla car, you will be set for life, use their SuperChargers, which is powered by solar electricity, around the country for free. How do you make people leave their gas guzzling cars and go green? Make going green cheaper and more awesomer!
Although Tesla ran into some hiccups from the press and politics, they are doing great. I sincerely hope they expand all over the world.
Solar All the way – SolarCity
Based on a suggestion from Elon, his cousin Lyndon Rive started a solar power generation company, SolarCity. Now, it is one of the major players in the solar energy market in the U.S. Google has invested about $230 million in SolarCity form its Google Fund.
Fifth mode of transportation – The HyperLoop
Is it just me or is this guy extremely good at naming things! He named his rocket engine ‘Merlin‘ because that is where the magic happens. Well, Back to the Hyperloop, this is the revolutionary fifth mode of transport along with cars, trains, aircraft and ships envisioned by Elon Musk. Whats different you ask, well this just travels at a mind boggling speed of 962 km/h, well for comparison consider this, sound travels at 1225 km/h, you will be travelling at almost 80% the speed of sound. This will be a elevated tube with reduced pressure, inside which people will be shot from one end to the other in aluminium capsules by electric motors or as he puts it “cross between a Concorde and a railgun and an air hockey table”. But as he is completely occupied now, he is doubtful if he’ll ever be able to get into the venture and hoping someone else will do it.
The Iron Man Tryst
First of all to clear the page, Elon Musk was NOT the inspiration for Tony Stark as some “news agencies” say he is, first Iron Man first came out March 1963, Elon Musk was not even born till 1971! (Yes, that is some comic book trivia, you can thank me later). Although he is pretty much living up-to all the hype. His SpaceX factory was used as a filming location for Iron Man 2 and Musk even has a cameo in the movie (the scene right before Tony Stark goes into the racing tracks, Google it). Adding to the rumors, he has now combined technologies like the Seimens NX, Oculus Rift and Leap Motion, which themselves look like something out of a star trek movie, into something that looks like J.A.R.V.I.S 1.0, His SpaceX lab, watch and be amazed!