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Elon Musk Biography, How Did He Become the Richest Man in the World?

Electric cars, tunnels, a colony on Mars: the US billionaire, who has just become the richest man in the world, passing Jeff Bezos is pursuing many projects at the same time - and is known as an eccentric. Now that he is officially the richest man in the world thanks to a huge increase in Tesla share prices over the last year, in this article, we want to take a look at Elon Musk biography, so stay tuned.

Elon Musk was born on 28 June 1971 in Pretoria, South Africa, is a South African engineer, entrepreneur and business executive, who became a naturalized Canadian citizen in 1988 and an American citizen in 2002. He is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SpaceX and Managing Director of Tesla, having previously served as Chairman of the Board of SolarCity and Tesla. He is also the founder of The Boring Company, a tunnel construction company, and Neuralink, a neurotechnology firm. In the 2000s, he turned Tesla into a mass producer of electric cars.

He is the founder of SpaceX and co-founder of Zip2 and was the founder and one of the main executives of X.com, which later merged with Confinity and took the name PayPal.

In addition to his business activities, in 2013 he proposed a high-speed transport project known as Hyperloop, and also a supersonic jet plane with vertical take-off and landing with electric propulsion.

In 2015, Elon Musk co-founded OpenAI, an artificial intelligence research association whose objective is to promote and develop open-source artificial intelligence for the benefit of all mankind.

All You Need to Know About Elon Musk Biography

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Elon Musk has said that the goals of SolarCity, Tesla and SpaceX revolve around his vision of changing the world and humanity. His objectives include reducing global warming through sustainable energy production and consumption and reducing the "risk of human extinction" by creating multi-planetary life through the establishment of a human colony on Mars. SpaceX became the first private company in the world to send astronauts into space in 2020.

In August 2020, his net worth reached $100 billion thanks to his shares in Tesla, which have been rising steadily since the beginning of that year. In December 2020, he became the richest person in the world, surpassing Jeff Bezos.

Now that we know Elon Musk much better, it is the time to take a deeper look at his life, so just stay tuned to get to know him better and read more of Elon Musk biography.

Elon Musk Early Life

Elon Musk was born on 28 June 1971 in Pretoria, South Africa. He is the son of Errol Musk, an Anglo-South African engineer, and Maye Haldeman, a Canadian nutritionist and model. After his parents' divorce in 1980, he went on to live with his father. At the age of 12, he sold his first video game program for $500.

According to Kimbal Musk, his brother, Elon Musk read two books a day in various subjects at an early age. His readings were very broad and diverse, covering many fields such as philosophy, religion, science fiction and programming, engineering, business, technology, product design, energy and etc.

In 1988 (then 17 years old), upon graduating from Pretoria Boys High School, he told his parents that he wanted to study in the United States. He then became a Canadian citizen through his maternal descent and left South Africa for Kingston, Ontario, Canada. For Elon Musk, Canadian citizenship enabled him to immigrate to the United States to study, more easily than from apartheid South Africa.

It also helped him from being called up for military service in South Africa. In Canada, he attended Queen's University and financed his education through part-time and summer computer work. He graduated with a degree in business administration in 1992.

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In 1992, he left Canada for the United States and joined the University of Pennsylvania to study physics and economics, funding his courses with a scholarship. He studied there for three years, receiving an undergraduate degree after his first two years, and stayed an additional year to complete a major in physics and make his undergraduate degree a joint honours degree.

In 1995, he received a scholarship to pursue a PhD in Energy Physics at Stanford University. However, he quickly became aware of the development of the Internet at the time and, barely two days after confirmation of his admission, stopped preparing his program to launch his company. Stay tuned to read more about Elon Musk biography and his personal life.

Elon Musk Personal Life

His first wife, Justine Wilson, studied with him at the same university in Canada. They married in 2000 and had five children.

In September 2008 Elon and Justine announced the end of their relationship as Musk began to date British actress Tallulah Riley. They married in 2010. Musk and Riley divorced in 2012 but married again in 2013. In March 2016 they filed for divorce, which took place in October of the same year.

For about a year he dated actress Amber Heard. Musk explained in an Instagram comment, that the reason for their split was a busy work schedule and a long-distance relationship, but that he and Heard remain friends.

In February 2020, Amber Heard's ex-husband, Johnny Depp, claimed that Heard began cheating on him with Musk a month after their wedding. The case includes testimony from witnesses who stated that Musk visited Heard's penthouse more than once in her husband's absence. The court demanded that Elon Musk reveal all personal communications with Heard in order to examine the validity of these accusations.

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Representatives for the businessman released a statement denying the allegations and claiming that the relationship remained friendly until Heard and Depp officially divorced. Musk is known to be one of the witnesses on Amber Heard's side in the domestic violence case.

Since 2018 he has been dating Canadian singer and musician Claire Bouchet, better known as Grimes. In January 2020 Grimes confirmed that she and Musk were expecting their first child. Grimes explained that the child would be able to choose its own gender and the couple planned to use the gender-neutral pronoun "they" for the child. The baby was born on May 4, 2020; according to the father, his name is "X Æ A-12," although the name may be illegal in California because it has a symbol that is not an English letter (Æ).

Elon's younger brother, Kimball, is a successful restaurant owner, an adept at using farm products, and his sister Tosca is a film producer. Maye Musk, Elon's mother, is also a fairly well-known public figure, a successful model, lecturer, and nutritionist. Stay tuned to read more about Elon Musk biography and some top facts about Elon Musk.

Facts About Elon Musk

Now that we know Elon Musk much better, before moving on to the other parts of Elon Musk biography, let's share some interesting facts about Elon Musk that you did not know, facts that are going to help us get to know Elon Musk, the richest man in the world much better.

He is building electric cars, sending recyclable rockets into space, plans to colonize Mars, build supersonic trains around the world, and a tunnel the United States, and believes that at some point the brain and the computer will merge into one. Elon Musk is considered one of the most active, courageous, but also least predictable entrepreneurs of our time: He can be incredibly soft-skinned when he encounters criticism and likes to announce big decisions in such a way that they could pass for a joke.

Musk, who was born in South Africa, once became rich with the startup Zip2, which enabled companies to publish maps and addresses on the Internet. Its sale to the computer manufacturer Compaq made Musk a multimillionaire. He then founded X.com, which would later become PayPal. He sold it to eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion. Musk is now the richest man in the world with a net worth of more than $185 billion.

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His plans do not always seem rational or feasible, but often eccentric and highly ambitious. The billionaire doesn't just want to find the next mediocre business idea, he wants to change entire areas of life, transform the daily lives of billions of people and shape the future.

Musk thus appears to many as a brilliant pioneer, but also to many as a loudmouth, a phony, or a madman with too much money. Yet his motives and ideas are perfectly understandable if you look at his past, interests and setbacks. Unlike Steve Jobs, the Google founders or Bill Gates, Elon Musk likes to talk about himself, his opinions and his view of the world.

Musk used to live on $1 a day

"In America, it's very easy to keep yourself alive," Elon Musk says, explaining the feasibility of an experiment he conducted in his college days. "I tried to live on just one US dollar a day, which I managed to do." He ate hot dogs, pasta with butter and oranges. What did the now-billionaire take away as a lesson? "I realized that with my computer, I could live okay in a cheap apartment without going hungry," he says. That was all he needed. Accordingly, he says, the risk was reasonable for him to invest money and time in high-risk projects. The U.S. journalist Kathleen Elkins replicated the experiment this year and came to the same conclusion.

Musk thinks we're living in a simulation

"There's a one in a billion chance that we're living in basic reality," Elon Musk said at the Recode Code Conference. He thereby outed himself as a supporter of Nick Bostrom's so-called simulation hypothesis. This hypothesis states that it is very likely that humanity exists merely as part of a computer simulation - i.e. a kind of fake world like in The Matrix. Musk claims to have thought about it "a lot" and takes this idea extremely seriously. He is reportedly one of two Silicon Valley billionaires who have commissioned researchers to test the hypothesis and find a way to free us from the Matrix.

Stay tuned to read more about Elon Musk biography and find out what he thinks of Steve Jobs.

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Musk thinks Steve Jobs was an a**hole

"The one time I met Steve Jobs, he was kind of a dick," Elon Musk says of the Apple founder, who died in 2011. He had been introduced to him at a party by Google founder Larry Page. Musk is not alone in his negative impression. Indeed, Steve Jobs was widely regarded by both employees and acquaintances as an inspiring genius, but also feared as an intimidating bully and a grisly egomaniac. Musk is just as demanding when it comes to his projects, word has it. But equally, he's said to be a real prankster, constantly cracking jokes - especially about himself.

Musk values personality more than talent

"My biggest mistake was that I gave too much to someone's talent but not enough to their personality," Elon Musk confessed during a discussion at the 2013 SXSW festival. "I made that mistake several times." For Musk, working on big projects is all about teamwork - which is why Tesla and SpaceX now have a no-assholes rule. "I think it really matters if someone has a good heart; it really does," Musk said. "I made the mistake of thinking it was all about brains." So if you're not a good person, you're in the wrong place with him - but could well find a place elsewhere. "If you can't make it at Tesla, then you can work at Apple," Musk says.

Musk is afraid of vacations

When it comes to vacations, Elon Musk is very skeptical. It's not that he generally dislikes vacations or doesn't allow others to take them. However, he is of the opinion that "vacations will kill you." He drew this "lesson," as he puts it, from a trip to Brazil and his native South Africa in 2000 when he caught a severe case of malaria. It took him six months after treatment to fully recover. "Man, that was really not a fun experience, but it really does help you define your goals," Musk said. In fact, he founded SpaceX and Tesla Motors shortly thereafter. But even without a near-death experience, he said the idea of lying bored at the booth was "the worst thing ever."

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Musk fears failure - but also finds it essential

"I have the mentality of a samurai. I would rather commit Seppuku than fail," Musk is reported to have said to an investor. However, Elon Musk denies this. This is because, while he is afraid of failure, he is equally of the opinion that it is sometimes necessary. "If you don't fail, you're not innovative enough," he claims. Indeed, the billionaire has had some setbacks in his past. In both 2008 and 2013, Telsa was on the verge of bankruptcy - as was Musk himself, who had invested much of his net worth. Tesla was therefore almost sold to Google in 2013. Likewise, SpaceX seemed to flop in 2008 after three consecutive test flights of the Falcon 1 rocket went horribly wrong. Had a fourth and successful launch not earned SpaceX a contract with NASA, it would have been "total game over." Last but not least, Elon Musk had once hoped for a job at Netscape. However, he never received a response to his application.

Musk is tired of a lot of corporate headquarters

"Everyone runs presentations in their reception halls. I, on the other hand, am thinking about putting in a roller coaster - a real working roller coaster at the factory in Fremont," Musk is quoted as saying in the biography How Elon Musk is Changing the World. "You get on and it would take you through the factory but also up and down." Actually, he was getting bored with the interchangeability and boring, stiff self-image of many technology companies. But above all, "Who else has a roller coaster?" is how the billionaire justifies his idea. "It would certainly be terribly expensive, but I like the idea."

Stay tuned to read more about Elon Musk biography and his views on third world war.

Musk is afraid of the third world war

Even though Elon Musk is not from Mars, he has quite pragmatic reasons for colonizing the Red Planet: This is the only way to ensure the survival of the human species. He sees a third world war as one of the greatest dangers for mankind. At the beginning of the 20th century, humanity also believed in a time of peace, but then experienced two world wars in a row. "That's why I think we should accept that there is a definite chance of a third world war," Musk says. "If that happens, I think it would be worse than anything we've experienced before." However, Musk also has a very personal dream that draws him to the Red Planet. "I would love to die on Mars," the billionaire said back in 2013, "but not necessarily on impact."

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Musk is best friends with Larry Page

"I don't know where I'm going to stay tonight. Can I come over?”, Elon Musk is said to have asked Google founder Larry Page - and quite often. Because the Tesla founder is on the road a lot and clearly behaves as if he has no home. There is a reason why he asked Larry Page, of all people, for a place to sleep. The two are said to be "best buddies" who like to philosophize on the sofa over a beer or hang out with a video game. Musk, however, fears that Google's AI and Robo projects will lead to the enslavement of humanity by computers. Page, on the other hand, thinks highly of Musk's plans and believes that he will make the world a better place. If he were to die first, he would probably leave him his fortune.

Musk does not believe in alien gods

According to conspiracy theorists like Erich von Däniken or Giorgio A. Tsoukalos, alien gods once visited humans and built the pyramids. Elon Musk thinks this is nonsense. "Stacking stones on top of each other is not a sign of advanced civilizations," he wrote on Twitter. "The ancient Egyptians were awesome. If aliens built the pyramids, they would have left a computer or something behind." With that, he also addressed the joke that he himself was an alien or a rather extraterrestrial beast. "The rumors that I'm building a spaceship to get back to my home planet of Mars are totally untrue," Musk said.

Stay tuned to read more about Elon Musk biography and his views on politics.

Elon Musk, Views on Future and Politics

Concerned about the future of artificial intelligence, he is a member of the Future of Life Institute, as was the famous British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking. Fearing that robots could one day overtake and harm humanity, Elon Musk is trying to develop initiatives to think about the future of robotics.

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At the end of 2016, he became an advisor to US President Donald Trump; he resigned from his post in June 2017 when Donald Trump announced his intention to leave the Paris climate agreement.

In 2017, Elon Musk signed an open letter to the United Nations, along with a hundred or so managers of companies specializing in artificial intelligence or robotics, warning of the dangers of autonomous weapons, nicknamed killer robots.

In 2018, his donations of $88,900 to the Republican Party were revealed by the Huffington Post.

From 29 to 31 August 2019, he attended the WAIC (World Artificial Intelligence Conference). Jack Ma, a Chinese businessman and president of the Alibaba Group, and Elon Musk met and debated on the subject of artificial intelligence to find out if it represents a danger and if it can overtake humans.

Elon Musk imagines a scenario where artificial intelligence will make jobs obsolete. He states: "The last job that is likely to be left is writing artificial intelligence software. Then artificial intelligence will end up writing its own software. "He believes that machines may surpass humans because technology is changing rapidly. ”Computers are already much smarter than humans in many ways," he says. He believes that machines may become impatient with the slow brainpower of humans and may see us as slow and stupid. "It will be like talking to a tree," he adds.

On May 17, 2020, as part of the U.S. presidential election of 2020, he tweeted "Take the red pill" (in reference to the cult scene in the film Matrix), inviting support for the Republican candidate and incumbent President Donald Trump. Stay tuned to read more about Elon Musk biography and his net worth.

Elon Musk Net Worth

In January 2018, Tesla announced the compensation proposal for Elon Musk to serve as CEO of the company for the next 10 years. He would be compensated exclusively on the basis of his company's performance: no fixed salary and almost all of his income would be tied to the achievement of operational targets and stock price performance.

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This compensation plan was adopted by a shareholder vote in March 2018 with 73% support from shareholders excluding the votes of Elon Musk and his brother Kimbal Musk, and approximately 80% in total, less than the 95% approval typically expressed in shareholder votes on the salaries of executives of large U.S. companies.

In January 2021, according to Bloomberg, the entrepreneur Elon Musk became the richest man in the world at the age of 49, following a stock market boom at the start of Wall Street. With an estimated fortune of $188.5 billion, he surpassed Jeff Bezos by $1.5 billion. The bulk of this fortune is made up of Tesla and SpaceX shares.

Stay tuned to read more about Elon Musk biography and his charitable works.

Elon Musk and Charity

Elon Musk is chairman of the board of the Musk Foundation. In January 2015, the foundation donated $10 million to the Institute for the Future of Humanity for research on controlling artificial intelligence.

In July 2018, the entrepreneur offered his help in an operation to rescue children from the flooded Tham Luang Cave. Four engineers from Tesla, SpaceX, and The Boring Company were sent to help the rescuers. A mini-submarine designed specifically for this operation was brought to Thailand, but Thai rescuers refused to use it.

Speleologist Vern Unsworth, who played one of the key roles in the rescue operation, criticized the proposal (according to him, a submarine with a rigid frame "could not even swim the first 50 meters from the beginning of the cave" and Musk "should have stuck the submarine where it hurt"), calling the entrepreneur's actions a PR stunt.

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In October 2019, he donated $1 million to plant trees in states affected by wildfires. Stay tuned to read more about Elon Musk biography and his TV and cinema work.

Elon Musk, TV and Cinema

According to Jon Favreau, the director of Iron Man (2008), Elon Musk served as the inspiration for the movie incarnation of Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr.

In 2010, Musk appeared in the film Iron Man 2 as himself (in the story, Elon is Tony Stark's friend). In 2013, he also played himself in an episode of Machete Kills. Musk is seen among the audience coming to the artificial intelligence presentation in the sci-fi film Excellence, and his name is in the credits.

Elon Musk made a cameo appearance in season 26 episode 12 of the animated series The Simpsons, released on January 25, 2015. He has also made a cameo in episode 9 of season 9 of The Big Bang Theory. Stay tuned to read more about Elon Musk biography and his professional career.

Elon Musk Entrepreneurial Activities

In this section of Elon Musk biography, we will take a deeper look at his entrepreneurship activities from the first company he founded up until now. Stay tuned.

Zip2

Kimbal accompanied Elon on a car trip across the United States in one month, from Silicon Valley to Philadelphia, where Elon was to complete his studies at Pennsylvania. During the trip, they talked a lot about starting a business. In 1995, Musk enrolled in the PhD program in Applied Physics and Materials Science at Stanford University, but within two days he dropped out of class so that he could start Zip2, along with his brother Kimbal Musk and his friend Greg Curry.

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Elon Musk was the CEO of Zip2. Zip2 was managing the development, hosting, and maintenance of specific websites for media companies. This allowed them to establish a web presence through automated editing by adding maps and route directions (a business that anticipated what would be Google Maps combined with Yelp). To do this they obtained free use of Navteq's mapping, which had cost $300 million.

They applied the Java language to send the maps and directions as vector images instead of bitmaps, which were very slow to transmit on the fledgling Internet network. Elon did the programming and engineering, while Kimbal did the sales and fundraising.

Elon was an immigrant on a temporary visa and Kimbal was an illegal immigrant in the United States. Due to lack of financial resources, Kimbal and Elon spent some time living in the 4m x 9m office of Zip2 and used the YMCA facilities for showering. They used to eat very cheaply at Jack in the Box. When they were able to pay for it, they moved into an apartment and Kimbal cooked for the entire Zip2 staff. Their sister Tosca moved from Toronto to San Francisco and worked with them on Zip2.

As of February 1999, the company was managing nearly 200 websites, including the New York Today site, which was a local directory of The New York Times. Zip2 also managed part of the chains of Hearst Corporation, Times Mirror, Knight-Ridder and Pulitzer Publishing.

Zip2 was sold to Compaq Computer in 1999 for $307 million, of which Elon received $22 million. Stay tuned to read more about Elon Musk biography and his Paypal project.

Paypal

In March 1999 Elon Musk, Harris Fricker, Ho and Christopher Payne founded X.com as a financial startup. Musk initially invested $12 million in X.com. Five months after its foundation Harris Fricker threatened that if he couldn't be CEO he would leave with other team members to create another company. Elon Musk told him he should do it. Fricker, Ho and other key engineers left X.com. Fricker had a successful career as CEO of GMP Capital. Payne founded a private equity firm in Toronto.

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X.com was one of the first online banks. It had to fight numerous banking regulations. Its deposits were insured by the FDIC. Confinity Inc. was a Silicon Valley software company founded in December 1998 by Max Levchin, Peter Thiel and Luke Nosek as a Crypto company that processed electronic payments. At the end of 1999, Confinity launched its flagship product, PayPal, which through the infrared port allowed money to be sent between PDA users such as the Palm Pilot.

In March 2000, X.com and Confinity decided that it made more sense to join forces than to waste money on advertising to attract the same customers. Combining the PayPal product with X.com's sophisticated services, they merged into a new entity called X.com, of which Elon Musk was named CEO as the largest shareholder of the resulting merged company. Within weeks X.com raised $100 million in investment from Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs. At that time X.com had over one million customers.

The two companies tried to bring their cultures together with little success. There were fights over the design of the company's technological infrastructure. The Confinity team, led by Levchin, wanted to use open-source Linux software, while Musk wanted to use Microsoft's data center software.

X.com faced tough battles over technology infrastructure, online fraud and branding strategies. In September 2000, tensions within the management team escalated.

By January 2000, Elon Musk had married Justine Wilson. Work had prevented them from going on their honeymoon. Nine months later they planned to bring business and leisure together to take an investment capital trip and end it in a honeymoon at the Sydney Olympics. At 10:30 p.m., while Musk was flying, an extraordinary meeting of X.com was held, where Elon Musk was removed as CEO and Peter Thiel was appointed.

Elon Musk cancelled his honeymoon, took the first plane back to California and asked the board to reconsider their decision. Musk eventually agreed to the reorganization, and although his influence on the company decreased, Musk remained as an advisor and continued to invest, increasing his position as a major shareholder. In June 2001, X.com changed the name of its product to PayPal and became PayPal Inc.

In 2002 PayPal went public. At that time, the company had a turnover of $240 million per year with PayPal. When eBay showed interest in buying PayPal the majority of the board wanted to sell as soon as possible. Musk and Mortiz asked the board to reject the first offers. In July 2002 eBay raised the offer to $1.5 billion and the board and Musk accepted the sale. Before the sale, Musk was the majority shareholder, with 11.7% of PayPal's shares.

The sale earned Elon Musk $180 million after taxes. He spent $100 million to establish SpaceX, $70 million to Tesla, Inc. and $10 million to SolarCity.

Several members of the PayPal team founded their own companies, including YouTube (Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim), LinkedIn (Reid Hoffman), Yelp (Russell Simmons, Jeremy Stoppelman), Palantir Technologies, and Jammer. Others, such as Peter Thiel, Reid Hoffman and Botha, became major investors in the technology industry. In 2015 PayPal was separated from eBay to become an independent company. Stay tuned to read more about Elon Musk biography and his SpaceX company.

SpaceX

In 2002, Elon Musk began investigating the feasibility of sending a rocket to Mars. Each Delta-2 rocket cost between $50 million and $60 million per mission and at least two missions were needed. He made three trips to Russia and tried unsuccessfully to purchase intercontinental ICBM rockets without the warheads. On the plane back with his partners Mike Griffin and Jim Cantrell, Elon showed them a spreadsheet that he had worked on for months.

It was the first SpaceX prototype that detailed all parts of the business. He would use reusable rockets in the design. It would have a vertically integrated strategy. There was an emerging niche in customer needs for launching small satellites. He analyzed cost and benefit factors. The business model would be that of a private aerospace company. He had also investigated the physics behind the rocket structure and launch.

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In June 2002, Musk founded his third company, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), in which he is currently the CEO and CTO. SpaceX is dedicated to developing and producing space shuttles, with an emphasis on cost reduction and high reliability. The first two transport rockets developed by SpaceX are Falcon 1 and Falcon 9, and its first capsule is the Dragon.

On December 23, 2008, SpaceX signed a $1.6 billion contract with NASA for 12 flights of its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station, replacing the Space Shuttle after its retirement in 2011. Initially, Falcon 9 and Dragon would replace the shuttle's cargo-carrying function, while the personnel-carrying function would be performed by Soyuz. However, SpaceX has designed Falcon 9/Dragon for astronaut transport, and the Augustine Commission has recommended that astronaut transport be handled by commercial companies such as SpaceX.

Musk sees space exploration as an important step in the expansion - even the preservation - of human consciousness. Musk has said that life on multiple planets can serve as a defense against threats to the survival of the human species.

The objective of Musk is to reduce the cost of human space travel. He founded SpaceX with $100 million of his previously accumulated assets and continues to be the CEO and CTO of his Hawthorne, California-based company.

In seven years, SpaceX designed the Falcon family of rockets and Dragon multi-purpose spacecraft from the ground up. In September 2009, Falcon 1 became the first privately funded liquid fuel rocket to put a satellite into Earth orbit. NASA selected SpaceX to be part of the first program that would give private companies responsibility for carrying cargo to the International Space Station.