January 23, 2022

Elon Musk, 2021 “Time” Personality of the Year

UNITED STATES – After the winning duo of the American presidential election in 2021, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, it is Elon Musk’s turn to be named “Personality of the year” by the American magazine Time. However, this announcement made on December 13 will not make everyone happy.

“The richest man in the world doesn’t own a house and recently sold his fortune. It throws satellites into orbit and harnesses the sun; he drives a car he created that does not consume gasoline and hardly needs a driver. With a flick of the finger, the stock market soars or vanishes. An army of faithful clings to his every word. He dreams of Mars riding the Earth, his jaw square and indomitable ”summarizes TIME at the start of his portrait.

It must be said that it is not easy to condense the life of Elon Musk in a few signs. Co-founder of Paypal, boss of electric vehicle maker Tesla and space exploration company SpaceX, the 50-year-old billionaire has endless plans.

And 2021 has been a good year for Elon Musk and his companies. He, who plans to colonize Mars in the coming decades, has already signed a $ 2.9 billion contract with NASA to land astronauts on the Moon. An exclusive contract with the American space agency, which has not sent an astronaut to the Moon since 1972.

In September, the company sent four space tourists aboard a Crew Dragon capsule for 3 days. Called Inspiration4, it is the first orbital mission in history to have no professional astronaut on board. From the most ambitious to those who could be compared to simple trolls, like this whistle sold for 50 dollars, Elon Musk shares each of his projects to his 66 million followers on Twitter. Plans that divide regularly.

Is Operation Mars Credible?

Known for his whimsical and customary soaring personality Twitter, the entrepreneur of South African origin, naturalized Canadian then American, is not a consensual figure.

“Elon Musk has spent his life defying the jealous; it seems today to be in a position to put them back in their place ”, write the journalists of the Time in their portrait of the billionaire entrepreneur. Elon Musk is on the one hand idolized by his fan community, and on the other relatively criticized by many specialists. And in particular with regard to its activities in space.

The boss of SpaceX, for example, often speaks with enthusiasm about his plan to colonize Mars in the coming years. He who announced in 2016 his ambition to send men to the red planet from 2024, does not fail to continue to feed this idea on his Twitter.

However, it must be understood that it is impossible to send men to Mars without taking with them thousands of billions of microbes. The opportunities for contamination would be legion (air leaks etc) and could deprive Humanity of the potential greatest discovery in all of its history: finding an extraterrestrial form of life.

Especially since Elon Musk’s long-term plan is to create a colony of “a million people on Mars within 100 years”. On the other hand, 2024 seems like a very ambitious, if not impossible, year to lead a manned mission to Mars. If Musk has made himself king in the art of false promises, one of the pillars of his communication strategy, some are already engaged and worry just as much.

The Starlink constellation in the viewfinder

Astronomers are particularly worried about the launch by the company SpaceX of the Starlink constellation which will be able to count up to 42,000 satellites. Such a concentration of artificial satellites in the sky will greatly disrupt telescope observations.

There is the light pollution they produce at dusk and dawn when they reflect sunlight, but satellites also emit radio waves which cause interference and thus interfere with the operation of radio telescopes.

As solutions, scientists want space manufacturers to think about designing their satellites differently in order to minimize the nuisance caused to astronomical research. Astronomers are also calling for the establishment of a satellite flight map which would make it possible, in real time, to anticipate disturbances.

See also on The HuffPost: Prince William calls on Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk to ‘save the planet’ first and foremost