If any person living on the planet in the early 21st Century is positioned to change civilization, it is Elon Musk, the South African born immigrant who has disrupted a number of industries, including transportation, solar energy, and space travel. He is just getting started.
Musk has taken the dream of the electric car and has given it form with his line of Tesla vehicles. Teslas have been primarily high end sports cars and luxury vehicles, but Musk has started a line of automobiles priced low enough for many middle class drivers. The secret of the electric car is the development of a lithium ion battery that can hold enough of a charge to make the range of the vehicle long enough to make sense for a commuter.
Musk has developed two innovations in solar energy technology. He has recently developed a solar panel that resembles a roof tile, making rooftop systems aesthetically pleasing and acceptable to home owners’ associations. The same battery developed for the Tesla can be used as backup for solar energy systems so that they can provide power at night or during inclement weather.
Elon Musk is most famous for his rocket company, SpaceX. He has advanced the dream of the reusable rocket by landing, refurbishing, and relaunching the first stages of his workhorse Falcon 9 launch vehicle. Musk is preparing the first launch of the first commercial heavy lift rocket, the Falcon Heavy.
However, the most exciting project that SpaceX is undertaking is called the BFR, known delicately as the Big Falcon Rocket. The BFR is envisioned to take colonists all the way to Mars to fulfill Musk’s childhood dream, building a settlement on the Red Planet. The BFR is envisioned for taking people and cargo to and from the moon and for providing suborbital transportation from point to point on Earth.