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Barefoot Elon Musk was interviewed by XPrize founder and chairman, Peter Diamandis where he discussed space travel to Mars and the prize he has put up for grabs in his $100 million Carbon Removal project.
XPrize is as an organization that uses “large-scale global incentive competitions to crowdsource solutions to the world’s grand challenges”. Musk together with the Musk Foundation have funded the new $100 million XPrize Carbon Removal competition, which is the world’s largest incentive to date that aims to tackle climate change by rebalancing the Earth’s carbon cycle.
Musk previously announced the competition on Twitter earlier this year: “Am donating $100M towards a prize for best carbon capture technology”.
The competition will run for four years giving people time to develop solutions that extract and sequester high carbon emissions from the atmosphere. To walk away with a fat prize cheque, the solution must be able to remove a minimum of 1000 tons annually and show potential in the solution to achieve the removal of gigatons per year in the long term.
The interview also touched on Musk’s ambitions for Mars travel and said Mars wasn't going to be an "escape hatch for rich people". The billionaire said SpaceX’s plans for tourism on the red planet, and what will need to happen for it becomes a reality.
SpaceX has also just launched a mission that sent astronauts to the International Space Station. Four astronauts from three countries arrived at the ISS this weekend as part of NASA's SpaceX Crew-2 mission. After a 23-hour flight, the Crew Dragon Endeavor spacecraft docked at the ISS. The spacecraft was the same one that was used last May for the first-ever crewed SpaceX flight.
About the Mars exploration, Musk candidly said that "a bunch of people will probably die in the beginning". It’s no surprise that traveling to Mars will come with a whole set of life-threatening risks and Musk cautioned that it would "dangerous, it's uncomfortable, it's a long journey.”
Musk has always been passionate about sustainable everything, from energy to biological life and his vision is such that “If we make life multiplanetary, there may come a day when some plants & animals die out on Earth, but are still alive on Mars”.
Luckily, the initial travelers to Mars will only go on a volunteer basis. Musk humorously added, “We don't make anyone go”. So, how will they sell the idea? Apparently, the tag line for the Mars ad goes something like this:
“If an arduous and dangerous journey where you might not come back alive, but it's a glorious adventure, sounds appealing, Mars is the place.”
As if Musk isn’t busy enough, he has agreed to be a guest host on the popular talk show, Saturday Night Live with his appearance scheduled for May 8. Despite Tesla recently being on the receiving end of negative press, Musk and his EV company are still enjoying successes with Tesla stock being worth almost six times more than it was before the pandemic started last year March. Musk also has an estimated fortune of US$177 billion.
While Saturday Night Live doesn't usually invite corporate businessman to take the position of host, Musk is far from your average executive. His Twitter feed is full of memes and jokes, and with the recent title changes at Tesla, it shows he has a quirky, unique sense of humor. Musk just happens to be the most famous person who is not a highly paid actor or athlete but enjoys a celebrity-like status with over 52 million Twitter followers.