Elon Musk might attract an equal number of supporters and critics, but one of today’s most well-known astrophysicists believes that the Tesla and SpaceX CEO might very well become someone whose work will have a lasting effect on humanity.
The past years have tempered some of the most brilliant minds of this generation. Individuals like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezos, to name a few, have changed the way people communicate, work, and conduct business. In a segment on CNBC Make It, though, astrophysicist and director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York Neil deGrasse Tyson pointed out that Elon Musk’s efforts stand on a different level.
“As important as Steve Jobs was, no doubt about it — and you have to add him to Bill Gates, because they birthed the personal computing revolution kind of together — here’s the difference: Elon Musk is trying to invent a future, not by providing the next app. What Elon Musk is doing is not simply giving us the next app that will be awesome on our smartphone. No, he is thinking about society, culture, how we interact, what forces need to be in play to take civilization into the next century,” deGrasse Tyson said.
It could be argued that deGrasse Tyson has a particular soft spot for Musk considering his background in science and space, but it’s difficult to deny his point. The astrophysicist holds an optimistic view of space exploration and its impact on civilization. deGrasse Tyson, for one, notes that there is pretty much an unlimited amount of resources just waiting to be harnessed in space. Musk is among those who are willing to work hard to make such a scenario a reality.
“Because there’s unlimited resources in space; resources that, on Earth, we fight wars over. In space, you don’t need to fight a war, just go to another asteroid and get your resources. A whole category of war has the potential of evaporating entirely with the exploitation of space resources, which includes the unlimited access to energy as well,” he said.
While Elon Musk continues to attract a notable number of detractors, the astrophysicist notes that the Tesla and SpaceX CEO would eventually get his full due. Such a time will come, deGrasse Tyson stated, when the sectors that Musk is trailblazing start changing lives.
“People who own Teslas love their Tesla. Anyone who knows and cares about space exploration knows and cares about Elon Musk. We’re on the frontier of the future of civilization, and no I don’t think he gets his full due from all sectors of society, but ultimately, he will when the sectors that he is pioneering transform the lives of those who currently have no clue that their life is about to change. He will transform civilization as we know it,” he said.
Elon Musk has a penchant for never taking the easy way out. From starting SpaceX in 2002 to pursue his dreams of making humans an interplanetary species, to becoming Tesla’s CEO just before the US financial crisis hit in 2008, Musk and his companies have passed through trials of fire multiple times. Today, SpaceX and Tesla have both grown considerably since they were founded. SpaceX is currently preparing to send astronauts to the International Space Station, and earlier this year, Elon Musk announced that company is looking to bring civilians on an ambitious trip around the Moon. Tesla, for its part, continues to establish itself as a maker of premium electric vehicles, ultimately pushing legacy carmakers to design produce electric cars of their own, such as the upcoming Porsche Taycan.