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🚀 Photos hint at Starship’s ocean-based spaceport
Musk Reads #230
Tesla’s honeycomb-like batteries pictured; The Boring Company wants to go to Miami; Starship launch expected soon. It’s the free edition of Musk Reads #230 — subscribe now to receive two more editions later this week!
Last week, Musk Reads+ subscribers got to read an exclusive interview with Tesla teardown expert Sandy Munro, who detailed the incredible under-the-hood story of how the firm massively improved its manufacturing quality.
This week, subscribers will hear from Tony Cho, whose giant Tesla Solar Roof went viral on social media. Cho explains how he ordered the roof, how it transformed his energy bills, and what it’s been like to finally switch to solar.
Note that this week’s subscriber-only email will go out on Thursday rather than the regularly scheduled Wednesday.
Musk quote of the week
“Battery cell production is the fundamental rate-limiter slowing down a sustainable energy future. Very important problem.”
Read more about Musk’s concern over the future of batteries.
Is SpaceX building sea-based spaceports? Reporter Michael Baylor shared via Twitter this week that the company appears to have purchased two oil rigs. Deimos and Phobos, seemingly named after the two moons of Mars, appear to have transferred ownership in September 2020 to Lone Star Mineral Development LLC. The mysterious company has one principal on record, as spotted by Khaled Zoubi: Bret Johnson, SpaceX’s chief financial officer.
What does SpaceX want with oil rigs? It’s possible they will be used to launch the Starship. Musk posted on Twitter in June 2020, the same week that Lone Star incorporated, that “SpaceX is building floating, superheavy-class spaceports for Mars, moon & hypersonic travel around Earth.”
Launch photographer Jack Beyer spotted Deimos at the port of Brownsville this week, potentially giving the first images of the Starship’s spaceport:
The Starship itself has yet to complete its expected hop test. The feat would launch the “SN9” prototype, hopefully landing in one piece. The website “wenhop.com” now directs users to the schedule of Boca Chica road closures — a sign of how fans are greatly anticipating the coming launch.
In other news, Musk’s red Tesla Roadster is set to complete a second orbit of the Sun. The car was first launched in February 2018 on the maiden voyage of the Falcon Heavy. The milestone is expected in February 2021. Read more.
The Boring Company
Is The Boring Company coming to Miami? Musk caused a stir on Twitter Monday when he declared that he had spoken to the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, about tunnels last week. Musk explained that “road tunnels under Miami would solve traffic & be an example to the world.”
The proposal received intense scrutiny from experts. Robin George Andrews, a science journalist with a Ph.D. in volcanology, wrote on Twitter that there are “many geological reasons why this is probably not the greatest idea...unless you like your tunnels extra leaky and collapse-y.”
University of Miami civil engineering professor Jean-Pierre Bardet told Miami New Times that “in a nutshell, it is possible,” but Miami is built on porous limestone. The team would need to pump out sludge and ensure the tunnel was waterproof. That means digging tunnels can work out to be more expensive than bridges. It also explains why basements aren’t a popular idea for houses.
What will Tesla’s new batteries look like? Electrek has obtained an image of the honeycomb-like structural batteries that were first unveiled at the firm’s September 2020 event. The publication claims the batteries will first surface in Tesla Model Y vehicles coming out of Giga Berlin, as well as the planned “Plaid” iteration of the Tesla Model S due later this year.
Tesla is hiring an energy support specialist who would be asked to, in part, “address social media escalations directed at the CEO with critical thinking.” The post highlights the major role Musk’s Twitter account plays as a communication channel for customer issues.
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The ultra-fine print
This has been Musk Reads #230, 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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