Elon Musk: Stratospheric Words Of A Mad Scientist Published January 24, 2018 Interplanetary Here’s an understatement: Elon Musk is a pretty clever guy. At the turn of the millennium, he disrupted the world’s financial system by inventing PayPal. Since then, Musk has also upended the auto industry with his electric car company, Tesla. But, that’s not all! The world famous inventor is now intent on conquering our galaxy. Musk wants to help the human race become an interplanetary species. He believes the survival of humanity depends on increased space exploration and colonization of planets like Mars. So why not read ahead to discover more of the stratospheric words Elon Musk uses to describe his exhilarating vision for our future. Astronautics Astronautics is the science of traveling beyond Earth’s atmosphere. Historically, the field has been dominated by government agencies like NASA. But in 2008, Musk’s company SpaceX shattered expectations by launching the first privately-funded rocket to reach the Earth’s outer atmosphere. SpaceX can now launch rockets into orbit and actually recover them using a technique known as vertical landing. Previously, this incredible method of spacecraft recovery was only possible in science-fiction. Machine learning Elon Musk is a pioneer in the field of machine learning. It’s an advanced form of artificial intelligence that allows a computer to make complex decisions based on data. The software onboard SpaceX rockets uses machine learning to optimize landing procedures. Over the last several years, Musk has used similar technology to develop artificial intelligence for self-driving cars. He’s also spoken candidly about his fears of a robot uprising against humans. No, seriously . . . he should know. Autonomous According to Musk, cars won’t have steering wheels in 20 years. That’s because autonomous (self-driving) vehicles will soon dominate the auto industry. He’s even suggested that car ownership might become a novelty of the past. Musk predicts a vast fleet of shared autonomous cars will be available 24/7, similar to Uber or Lyft. But, instead of riding with a stranger, you’ll be picked up by an empty vehicle controlled by artificial intelligence. Spooky or spectacular? Gigafactory From Ancient Greek, the prefix giga predates the word giant. Within metric systems, it’s used to express one-billion. However you interpret it, Musk clearly has enormous plans for his sprawling Gigafactory located in Nevada. Opened in 2016, the world’s largest industrial factory was designed to mass produce lithium-ion batteries. These rechargeable batteries are crucial to the ongoing production of electric vehicles. Hyperloop The Hyperloop was first proposed by a joint team of engineers from SpaceX and Tesla in 2013. It’s a radical form of public transit that could potentially get passengers from San Francisco to Los Angeles in under an hour. The proposed concept uses high-pressured vacuum tubes to propel internal carriages to speeds up to 760 MPH. Although Musk has already built test tracks in California, critics remain skeptical of the overall cost, reliability, and safety of the Hyperloop. Photovoltaic Elon Musk can’t help but reference complex scientific words during his public talks. For example, you might hear him casually mention something about the photovoltaic effect when speaking about renewable energy. Dozens of photovoltaic cells make up solar panels. They’re tiny little conductors that convert the sun’s energy into electricity. Listening to Musk speak can be fascinating, but also intimidating. If you’re checking out one of his TED talks, be prepared for a captivating barrage of scientific vocabulary (best to have Dictionary.com open and ready!). Boring Don’t get it twisted: The Boring Company deserves your attention. Musk’s latest world-changing plot involves boring gigantic tunnels underneath Los Angeles. It was inspired by his vision to fix the city’s notorious traffic jams. LA residents stuck in gridlock traffic might agree that there’s nothing boring about a daring plan to ease congestion on the 405. There’s also nothing quite like a good pun. Well played, Elon.