Will There Be Life On Mars?


Elon Musk inventor, founder, pioneer of various technology services and 83rd wealthiest person in the world, is going to be giving a talk on Tuesday 27th September about the possibility of Life on Mars, and here’s why we should be listening in.

University Dropout

After completing two Bachelor of Science degrees in Physics & Economics respectively, Musk began a PhD in applied physics and materials science at Stanford University, but left the program after two days to pursue his entrepreneurial aspirations.

The first company that Musk founded was Zip2 a web software company, started in ‘95, with his brother, Kimbal. Compaq later acquired Zip2 for $307 million in cash and $34 million in stock options in Feb ‘99. Musk received 7% or $22 million from the sale.

Continuing on later that year, to co-found X.com & PayPal (the money transfer service) in March ‘99, the service continued to grow rapidly until PayPal was acquired by eBay for $1.5 billion in stock, of which Musk received $165 million.

Space, the final frontier

Never one to let the grass grow under his feet, in June of 2002, Musk founded Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX. SpaceX develops and manufactures space launch vehicles with a focus on advancing the state of rocket technology. The company’s first launch vehicles are the Falcon series of reusable rockets. On 22nd Dec 2015, SpaceX successfully landed the first stage of its Falcon rocket back at the launch pad. This was the first time in history such a feat had been achieved by an orbital rocket. A significant step towards rocket reusability lowering the costs of access to space. Since SpaceX’s conception they have now enjoyed 26 full mission successes, with six of the eleven landing attempts (including those on a barge at sea), succeeding in recovering the rocket’s first stage.


On to the next successful startup, co-founded by Musk was Tesla Motors in July 2003. Where Musk has favored building a sub-$35k Tesla model, in an effort to offer electric cars at prices affordable to the average consumer. Tesla also manufactures equipment for home and office battery charging, and has installed a network of high-powered Superchargers (for the electric car market) across North America, Europe and Asia.


SolarCity was co-founded in 2006, with Musk remaining as the largest shareholder. SolarCity is now the second largest provider of solar power systems in the United States. The underlying motivation for funding both SolarCity and Tesla is to help combat global warming.

On 12th August 2013, Musk unveiled a concept for a high-speed transportation system named the Hyperloop, “a fifth mode of transportation”. Hyperloop technology has been explicitly open-sourced by Musk and SpaceX, and others have been encouraged to take the ideas and further develop them. To that end, in June 2015, Musk announced a design competition for students and others to build Hyperloop pods to operate on a SpaceX-sponsored test track. Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s team was awarded the top prize and will go on, to race against the other winners later this year.


In December 2015, Musk announced the creation of OpenAI, a not-for-profit artificial intelligence (AI) research company. OpenAI aims to develop artificial general intelligence in a way that is safe and beneficial to humanity.

So when the serial entrepreneur announces that he intends to give an hour-long talk on “Making Humans a Multiplanetary Species”, to be delivered as a keynote as he addresses the 67th annual International Astronautical Congress, it could be well worth a few of us humans tuning in! Musk will: “discuss the long-term technical challenges that need to be solved to support the creation of a permanent, self-sustaining human presence on Mars”.

NASA continues to drive forward the construction and testing of its new Space Launch System rocket, which will power its own Mars mission, starting with uncrewed flights in 2018. One NASA projection has the agency sending humans to Mars orbit as soon as 2033. Although, there’s a good chance that SpaceX could beat NASA to Mars. SpaceX is also planning to send robots to Mars starting in 2018.

Making Humans a Multiplanetary Species” will take place on Tuesday, 27th September, from 18:30 – 19:30pm (GMT). This talk can be now found here, so be ready to boldly go, where no man has gone before…

What next?

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Author: Doug Walker

Doug has over 13 years experience in digital marketing and at least 8 years in the luxury hospitality sector. An avid gamer but equally likes to spend time outside in the great outdoors. Self-confessed SEO nerd, when not optimising for the web, he can be found in the kitchen cooking up spicy food!


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