🎥 Video: Musk says people “probably will die” on Mars
Musk Reads #244
This week, subscribers will receive an exclusive transcript and summary of Tesla’s first quarter 2021 earnings call. This call, set to take place at 5:30 p.m. Eastern time, will feature Musk and other executives answering questions about the firm’s first earnings report of the year.
The big question from retail investors: “How is Tesla’s Dojo full self-driving project coming along?” Expect insights into issues like these and more, in direct quotes from Musk, in our subscriber-only transcript.
Musk quote of the week
“An arduous and dangerous journey where you may not come back alive.”
Read more about Musk’s plan to get humans to Mars.
What will it be like to go to Mars? “An arduous and dangerous journey where you may not come back alive,” Musk told Peter Diamandis, founder of the XPRIZE Foundation, in a livestreamed YouTube discussion.
Musk plans to send the first humans to Mars using the Starship rocket, currently under development, at some point in the mid-2020s. SpaceX’s long-term goal is to establish a city on the planet by 2050.
“Honestly, a bunch of people probably will die in the beginning,” Musk said. “It’s tough sledding over there [...] it’s volunteers only!”
Musk and Diamandis also discussed the XPRIZE Carbon Removal, a four-year competition with $100 million in prizes funded by the Musk Foundation. Participants are asked to demonstrate a solution that can remove at least 1,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year from the atmosphere or ocean.
As well as cleaning up the atmosphere, it could benefit Musk’s ambitions to get to Mars. The Starship is designed to use liquid oxygen and methane as its fuel, and SpaceX aims for astronauts to refuel on Mars by harvesting its carbon dioxide and water supplies to make new fuel.
Liftoff! SpaceX successfully launched the Crew-2 mission on April 23 at 5:49 a.m. Eastern time. The rocket lifted off from Launch Complex 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The capsule, which arrived at the International Space Station around 23 hours later, carried four astronauts: NASA’s Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet. Read more.
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Autopilot was not enabled in the Texas crash, Musk claimed last week. Reuters reported on April 19 that two passengers in a Tesla Model S died after their car crashed into a tree. Sergeant Cinthya Umanzor, from the Harris County Constable Precinct 4, told reporters “there was no one in the driver’s seat.” Read more.
While Umanzor did not claim that the semi-autonomous Autopilot mode was enabled, the accident sparked a discussion about the feature. On Twitter, Musk declared the car had not purchased the full self-driving software package, and data logs “so far” show Autopilot was not enabled.
Last week, transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg claimed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s special crash investigation team "is still gathering facts and information.” He added that “we are following this very closely.”
The crash has sparked widespread discussion around Tesla and safety. In a popular post on the Tesla subreddit, a user called “Ragnaroknight” wrote that “since I'm the only Tesla owner at my job with 100s of employees, I keep having to hear about ‘the accident’ non-stop, and it's really annoying.” The user added that “it's always very disheartening to hear that people lost their lives in car accidents. But do people not understand how many people die in car accidents every single day in the U.S. alone?”
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In other Musk news…
Musk will host Saturday Night Live on May 8.
An incredible SpaceX Crew-2 photo captures a “very lucky moment.” Read more.
Can a Tesla drive without someone in the driver’s seat? Consumer Reports claimed its team was able to “easily” trick a Tesla Model Y. The publication added it was “a scenario that would present extreme danger if it were repeated on public roads.”
Santa Monica City Council has given the green light to a giant 62-stall Tesla Supercharger project.
Will Dogecoin, the cryptocurrency referenced by Musk on Twitter, soar from its current price of 27 cents to $1? Read more.
Check out these five alternatives to the Tesla Solar Roof. Read more.
One NASA experiment on board the SpaceX crew-2 mission could redefine how we explore deep space. Read more.
The ultra-fine print
This has been Musk Reads #244, the weekly rundown of essential reading about futurist and entrepreneur Elon Musk. I’m Mike Brown, an innovation journalist for Inverse.
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