Journey to the future: How Elon Musk is shaping the world around us

The SpaceX and Tesla CEO will change our futures, one rocket launch at a time.

 |  5-minute read |   14-02-2018
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"Holy flying f**k, that thing took off!'

That's how tech billionaire Elon Musk reacted after his space transport company, SpaceX, successfully launched the world's most powerful operational rocket – a mammoth 27 engine launch vehicle christened Falcon Heavy – carrying a payload that included among other things a 2008 Roadster made by his other big-name firm, Tesla.

This one though was no ordinary Tesla vehicle, as it is carried with it a special passenger – a mannequin nicknamed Starman. But, as fate would have it, Starman and his Tesla currently look destined for a violent end after losing course and finding themselves en route an asteroid belt.

The red car and its passenger may not have fulfilled their stated goal after overshooting the elliptical orbit of Mars, but if Musk's reaction to the very launch is anything to go by, the two had much before fulfilled their purpose of existence – to demonstrate how the company might someday help deliver people and other payloads to Mars.

Suffice to say, ahead of SpaceX's planned missions to Mars, – slated to start by 2022 – Starman (and his Tesla's) journey into space looks increasingly to be the beginning of an exciting chapter in human history. A chapter that is being penned by none other than Elon Musk.

With his dream project, Musk is changing our futures one rocket launch at a time. However, apart from the Mars mission, there are other ways too in which Musk is shaping human history.

The electric car project

To start things off, comes Elon Musk's electric car project, Tesla. 

As countless pieces over the past week have pointed out, the 2008 Roadster is not the first electric car in space. That particular honour goes to the Lunar Roving Vehicle delivered to the moon by the Apollo 15 on July 26, 1971. However, that does not take away anything from the role that electric cars like the Roadster 2008 and Model 3 have played in driving the human race towards an exciting future. 

The second generation of the Roadster is already being dubbed the "fastest production car in the world". The base model of the Roadster is being touted to go from zero to 100km/hr in 1.9 seconds, making it the first to hit that mark in less than two seconds, and from zero to 160km/hr in 4.2 seconds.

As for the Model 3, 4,50,000 people have already put down $1,000 refundable deposits to reserve the “affordable” battery electric sedan unveiled by Elon Musk in March 2016.

With the two cars, Musk is charting an ambitious vision for a future of renewable energy and self-driving vehicles.

Travel using 'BFR'

Elon Musk has been in the news off late for his ambitious plans to help the human race fly to its next frontier, mars in the coming years. The rockstar CEO of SpaceX has charted out a path which should see the company create a giant rocket codenamed the Big Fuck*ng Rocket (BFR) to initially carry out cargo missions to the red planet – at least two by the end of 2022 – and then follow it up with more transport missions carrying human settlers to Mars by 2024.

However, the BFR's role will not just be limited to interplanetary travel, but will also include taking people from one part of the earth to the other.

The idea here is to provide a revolutionary way of transport within the planet that cuts down travel time to any part of the earth by several hours and brings it down to 30-60 minutes.

For example, under this new mode of transport, the travel time between New York to Shanghai would be a mere 39 minutes. And if Musk is to be believed, the cost for this superfast mode of transport per seat "should be about the same as full fare economy in an aircraft".

Hyperloop

Another futuristic, but safer mode of transport that Musk envisages to bring to life in the coming years, is the Hyperloop. 

Essentially an ultra high-speed rail system, the company claims the Hyperloop will allow commuters to get from London to Edinburgh or LA to San Francisco in under 30 minutes. The train system combines a magnetic levitation train and a low-pressure transit tube to move from place to place.

Currently, there is no date on when we can finally see the Hyperloop in action, but expect it to be soon. 

Powering the world with renewable energy

Earlier last year, Tesla announced the Gigafactory factory 1 – the company’s giant battery factory in the middle of the Nevada desert which is still only 30 per cent completed – to take care of the battery needs of its electric cars. Apart from supporting Tesla vehicles, the battery factory produces lithium-ion batteries, low-cost batteries using alternative energy sources. 

Though the Gigafactory in itself may just be a giant battery creating unit, according to estimates about a 99 more of these can end up solving the planet's sustainable energy problem. 

There is no denying that the planet is in dire need of a solution to its energy woes. Gigafactory project by Musk could help bring about a future where we move away from coal guzzling electric plants and on to such Gigafactories that take us forward to a better future. 

Also read: Mohan Bhagwat must explain why he has lost faith in Indian Army

Writer

Sushant Talwar Sushant Talwar @sushanttalwar

Tech journalist, DailyO

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