Tesla and SpaceX billionaire Elon Musk is hoping to change the world in a number of different ways. Every now and then he’ll pop up on Twitter or a podcast wanting to do something from a science fiction movie. And who knows whether these are pipe dreams or in the pipeline, but one thing’s for sure is that he is a visionary and hopefully we can one day see one of his crazy ideas come to life. Here are some new inventions and projects which he hopes will change the world.
1. Electric planes
Musk believes that every transport vehicle will move to electric except rockets. As CEO of Tesla, he’s been at the forefront of getting us to transition to electric cars and an electric jet is something he’s also pondered from time to time. The environmental impact of planes is quite substantial: a return flight from London to San Francisco emits around 5.5 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per person, which is more than twice the emissions produced by a family car in a year, and about half of the average carbon footprint of someone living in Britain. So boarding flights without adding to your carbon footprint could significantly help with tackling climate change. He hopes that these planes will take off and land vertically like helicopters too, in the hopes of eradicating long runways.
2. Living on Mars.
As part of Space X, Musk says he plans to send 1 million people to Mars by 2050 by launching 3 Starship rockets every day. These ships would not only transport people, but also essentials such as food, water and building materials in the hopes that humans will be able to live on Mars and humans will become ‘interplanetary’ beings. We will live in glass domes and first and then a process of ‘terraforming’ begins. Terraforming is the possibility of humans changing a planet to make it more suitable to Earth, and thereby more livable to humans.
The first thing we need to do on Mars is turn the heating on, as the average temperature there is -81 degrees celsius. Possible ways of heating Mars includes using mirrors and even dropping nuclear weapons on the planet. If Mars doesn’t seem like a nice place to live, just remember that because of a different level of gravity, you can lift weights that are three times heavier on Mars.
3. Fitbit for your skull
A lot of people have been terrified by Elon Musk’s plans to create a chip that you could attach to your head and therefore control things with your mind. This chip will allow you to control smartphones and artificial limbs with your mind.
Although this sounds like the beginning of dystopian sci-fi movie, these could be a real game changer for less able and vulnerable people who have difficulty doing simple tasks. So be nice to your granny next time you see her or she’ll give you a right clip round the ear with her mind.
The weirdest aspect of it is that it may lead to us solely communicating through our thoughts and therefore eliminating the use of language. Or if you want to communicate in a different language you just download a different program and voilà, you’re now speaking French.
4. Driverless Cars
Tesla is close to completion of driverless cars. People are quite worried about cars having no driver, however, most car crashes are caused by human error so having vehicles controlled by machines might actually reduce the number of road accidents. Musk has also mentioned its benefits for long road trips where you can simply go asleep and wake up at your destination four hours later. Another useful idea is instead of having your car parked at work all day it can drive itself back and be used by other members of your household. Furthermore, people may no longer need to own a car but a series of robotaxis will operate and bring us from A to B.
5. Solar Farm
Musk’s main mission is to make us less reliant on fossil fuels, as they seriously damage the environment and will eventually run out. His proposed solar farm would involve 100 miles of land with solar panels, which will generate enough electricity to power the entire USA. The main issue with solar power is, as you might have guessed, it does not produce any energy at night. Producing solar power at this size and scale might be able to store enough energy to make people 100% reliant on the sun’s energy.
Anyone who’s been to LA will naturally tell you that the city is notorious for traffic and you need to drive a car to get anywhere. Hyperloop is an underground tunnel that will get more cars off the road and allow people to travel in a faster and more environmentally friendly way, connecting people from Los Angeles to San Francisco. The plan should allow you to travel from both cities within 35 minutes and cost a proposed $20 per ride. To put this in context, a flight takes an hour and a half, whereas a car ride takes over six hours. Passengers will travel in pods going at 700 miles per hour, or three times the fastest ever Formula 1 speed.
While Musk’s ideas of having cities of Mars are quite a while away from completion, Starlink is currently underway. Recently trialled in Australia and in Northern USA, Starlink is a constellation of artificial satellites in the sky which will allow greater access to the internet in rural areas. This project is set to give areas in the middle of absolute nowhere the same speed as somewhere in the inner city.
So we appreciate that Elon Musk is a bit of an odd ball. But some of his ideas are the guy thoughts that a lot of us have had from time to time. He just has the bottomless pit of money to turn these into a reality. You never know, some of these may come to fruition really quickly, some may never get off the ground. That’s the great thing about Science and Technology. A lot of hit is hit and miss, but we;re going to have a lot of fun seeing how some of these develop. Thank you for keeping us entertained Elon.