He is controversial. He is rebellious. He is a visionary. Elon Musk, a South African Entrepreneur is always on the news, and not always for the right reasons. Here are some of his most ambitious projects that he intends to complete by the year 2030.
BFR: Project Mars
The BFR stands for Big Falcon Rocket or as Musk likes to call it – the Big F**king Rocket. It is a 31 engine behemoth with a manned space-ship at the top. The rocket will be the world’s first ever attempt at creating a manned interplanetary transport system. The idea is to land a colony on Mars. It will be a one way trip for 100 wealthy volunteers who have decided to leave this world for a better one. The Mars Project involves launching a cargo flight that carries an automated greenhouse that will land on the Martian Regolith. The launch date is set for 2022. Manned spaceflights for this Martian oasis are set for 2024 and beyond. As of now, SpaceX is sticking to the launch schedule.
We have only seen this technology in science fiction movies and shows. Our brains directly interfacing with computers. That is what Elon Musk’s Neuralink intends to achieve. Using the knowledge of a Non-Profit organization called OpenAI, Musk wants to create an interface that merges our mind with a machine. Our minds becoming one with a software and hardware interface would open up limitless possibilities. faster processing, unlimited information storage, and pseudo-immortality since all our memories could be backed up, essentially creating a real-time cybernetic copy. But for now, Neuralink is aiming to tackle ground reality problems like serious brain diseases that affects millions of people every year.
How would you like to never pay for a basic necessity of the 21st century? What if we told you all electricity will soon be free? That is exactly the pipe dream Elon Musk is selling us today. Powerwall is a derivative product of another popular Elon Musk Venture – SolarCity. Solar City was started by his cousins Lyndon and Peter Rive. After being acquired by Tesla, Solar City started working on a different project. Powerwall is a home unit battery that is portable and extremely efficient in energy storage. Powered by roofs made entirely of specialized solar tiles, the Powerwall could not only charge your home but also pour the surplus electricity produced back into the grid. The solar tiles are shatterproof and there is even a business version of the machine called the Powerpack. The project is still in testing phases with Solar City trying to bring down the unit cost of the device, which is currently around $3500.
The Boring Company
The company’s products are just an ingenious as its products. The Boring Company was founded by Musk to reduce traffic congestion in Tier-1 cities. To do so, they would use revolutionary tunneling technology coupled with car elevators to reroute vehicles. The idea was to provide a 3D solution to a 2D traffic jam but adding one other dimension of space – underground tunnels. The Boring Company has already tested the Car Elevator in June in the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California. They have even created the prototype for the first rapid-tunneling machine called Godot. Godot will create a tunnel in the Los Angeles area, decreasing a 45 minute trip to merely 5 minutes in an underground lane.
It is easy to be a sci-fin fan. It is harder to actually turns those things into reality. Elon Musk is a big time fan of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series. And he took inspiration from the best-selling novels to come up with the idea of Starlink. Starlink is a project that involves launching tens of thousands of low cost low Earth Orbit satellites using SpaceX rockets. The satellites will act as internet transmitters, providing cheap, high speed internet to anyone, anywhere in the planet. Whether you are deep in the jungles of Amazon or stranded in the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean, you will always have internet. The total estimated cost of the project is $10 Billion.
The Hyperloop concept has drawn some heavy criticism. Skeptics call the idea a grand hoax. The idea is to use magnetic levitation technology enabled trains inside a vacuum tube with no air resistance to transport people and cargo at 4 to 5 times the speed of conventional trains. And that will be done at a fraction of the cost. The proposed Hyperloop project is around $6Billion, one tenth of the entire rail network of the State of California. A Hyperloop train could theoretically travel at speeds that exceeds 700 Miles Per Hour. The first Hyperloop project was supposed to be completed by 2020. It has been delayed further but Musk is confident he could make this happen. He did it with SpaceX and he could do it again.
SpaceX’s Falcon rockets and the Dragon Capsule are Elon Musk’s crown jewel. They have opened a vast, untapped domain for Musk to explore – outer space. Elon Musk intends to create cheaper, privatized modes of space transport. His vision for space tourism is radical and unique. But this is just the beginning. His Mission To Mars might be a one way trip. But his next avenue is very close to home. Elon Musk revealed than in 2017, two people approached SpaceX with a proposition – a paid return trip to the moon and back. SpaceX is reportedly working on customizing a Dragon Spacecraft to commence lunar tourism in the near future.