Elon Musk’s Midas Touch - Trailblazer Week

By Emma Nolan

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

PayPal, Tesla Motors, SpaceX are all large-scale, successful businesses synonymous with one man: Elon Musk. Because of his investment in the future, society has been propelled forward to a new era of space exploration, high speed transport, and sustainable forms of energy, such as electric vehicles and solar power. Musk’s vision of the future has lent for significant milestones in society already, but all his plans haven’t even been fully realized yet.

From the everyday use of Pay Pal in many people’s lives to the extremes of rocket science and technology, Musks’ innovative ideas have already had quite an impact and the momentum of both his financial backing and past business investments ensure his projects’ economic viability. In essence, his golden touch spreads to just about anything he focuses his energy on.

The ability to dream big has made Musk one of the most significant trail blazers of our generation. He is often compared to a real life Tony Stark, because like the superhero, Ironman, Musk has built air gestural technology. Musk told John Favreau, the director of Iron Man, on Twitter that he “figured out how to design rocket parts just with hand movements,” a concept inspired by the fictional technology in the movie.

Another one of Musk’s projects, the Hyperloop, seems just as fictional and unbelievable as his air gestural technology. The man himself describes this futuristic mode of transportation as “a cross between a Concorde, a rail gun, and an air hockey table.”

The Hyperloop is a subsonic, Futurama-esque air travel machine that can travel 350 miles in 30 minutes. This new mode of transportation would theoretically cut the time of cross country and intercity commutes, making this sort of travel much more practical. The motivation behind the Hyperloop stems from Musk’s disappointment with the current California high-speed rail system.

In his blog on Teslamotors.com, he writes, “The Hyperloop (or something similar) is, in my opinion, the right solution for the specific case of high traffic city pairs that are less than about 1500 km or 900 miles apart. Around that inflection point, I suspect that supersonic air travel ends up being faster and cheaper.”

Planning for the creation of the Hyperloop is currently underway. Whatever the outcome may be, it is impossible to deny that Elon Musk is certainly blazing a trail for a new, efficient mode of transportation.

Another of Musk’s endeavors, PayPal “the faster, safer way to pay and get paid online” has become a part of millions of peoples’ daily lives worldwide. PayPal allows its users to send and receive money, either for personal reasons or for goods and services, without running the risk of sharing financial information online. In 2002, eBay bought Paypal for $1.5 billion and Elon Musk made $165 million in eBay stock from the deal.

Musk’s dreams and subsequent investments in space exploration projects can also give us all hope for a future where commercial space travel and “day trips to Mars” are possible.

“My goal is to open up space and make it something that the average person, if they save up a lot, can travel to.”

With the founding of SpaceX, Musk is involved in space exploration technologies. The company develops and manufactures space launch technology, vehicles, and rocket technology. Musk was influenced by Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy and believes that space exploration is an important step in the future of human life.

Musk has been described as a “textbook example of what would happen if you gave a few billion dollars to the most faithful, daydreaming nerd at a science fiction convention.”

Though Musk has his head in the clouds with his space exploration projects, he has his feet firmly on the ground with his company Tesla Motors. Through the venture, Musk is invested in designing and producing a sustainable and economically viable electric car that doesn’t take forever to charge and can travel long distances. According to Business Insider, “These are all-electric vehicles that behave like sports cars. They’re comfortable, speedy, and stylish. Tesla cars shun gas completely and need nothing more than an electrical outlet.”

The electrical outlets themselves, are “Roadside Tesla Superchargers” and “will give a dead battery a half-charge (for 150 miles of range) in just 30 minutes.”

Musk understands the importance of creating a future for the electric car and above all, the importance in creating an affordable one. With the current state of the environment and global warming, Musk is investing in the future of cars and vehicles. In an interview with CBS News, Elon Musk said of the necessity to ease our dependence on fossil fuels, “That’s not making people’s lives better, but in the case of oil-based transport, there’s no choice, we’ve got to disrupt that, we’ve got to have sustainable means of transportation.”

Elon Musk is a man with quite a large expanse of interests, an entrepreneur who has carved an extremely successful career out of bringing about a futuristic vision that’s both optimistic as it is pragmatic. Society can sleep easy at night in the knowledge that there are men like Musk who have the drive and the ability to make things like an affordable, commercially feasible, and practical electric car possible. A man who is reviving the space race and simultaneously making the world more accessible with new forms of high speed transport and easier, safer ways to transfer money.

From the man who described the planet Mars as a “fixer-upper of a planet,” anything seems to be possible.