What do Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson have in common? Aside from being billionaires, that is.
All three are trying to be the first to conquer space--one because he’s sure the Earth is facing extinction; one who’s not telling, and one who’s seeking the ultimate joy ride.
#1 Elon Musk: Brave Knight for the Dark Ages
Electric vehicles, power walls and battery gigafactories are just temporary distractions for Elon Musk. This marketing genius has one overriding goal – Mars.
His priority is to send explorers to colonize Mars in order to save the human race by the time things erupt into a third world war or an extinction event.
“If there’s a third world war we want to make sure there’s enough of a seed of human civilization somewhere else to bring it back and shorten the length of the dark ages,” Musk said.
Musk has had our attention on this since 2003 when he paraded his Falcon One rocket at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and since then he’s held the spotlight when it comes to space.
SpaceX, with Musk as its CEO, is working on a vehicle that will take humans on Mars. The spaceship will be 30 feet in diameter and about 157 feet long, codenamed, the Big F*cking Rocket (BFR). And its maiden test flight is planned for the first half of next year. As early as 2022, the BFR could be hauling 100 people in 40 cabins to Mars. (But remember, Musk is the king of overly-ambitious deadlines).
SpaceX has been taking trips to space to deliver satellites and make resupply missions to the International Space Station for years. The company has won launch contracts with NASA and has successfully executed more than 30 space missions since it was founded.
The BFR is a huge game-changer in the space race.
#2 Jeff Bezos: Quietly Shooting for the Moon
Bezos is another Silicon Valley billionaire who’s racing to space, but this time to the Moon—even though his efforts aren’t nearly as loud as Musk’s, and no one knows much about his secretive plans.
Since 2000, his Blue Origin aerospace company has been working on a Moon project shrouded in mystery, with the moto “slow is smooth and smooth is fast”. Unlike Musk, Bezos isn’t advertising his every move.
His Plan B is to make sure that Plan A works first--and Plan A is protecting the Earth’s resources by expanding humanity’s reach into the solar system. Related: Wall Street Billionaires Bet Big On Bitcoin
“We should build a permanent settlement on one of the poles of the Moon,” Bezos once said. But the first step is to develop the right spaceship.
Blue origin is working on a super heavy lift rocket called "New Glenn"--named after astronaut John Glenn--capable of launching people and spacecraft into deep space. Bezos has spent the last four years building a huge rocket BE-4, designed to lift New Glenn into space in 2020.
Is he going to beat Musk to the punchline, even it only on the Moon and not Mars? No one knows because the noise level has been turned down.
#3 Richard Branson: The Life-Long Joy Ride
Branson's company Virgin Galactic has a much different vision. Branson wants to fly a reusable space plane, called SpaceShipTwo and it’s all about tourism, not planning for extinction or securing more natural resources for humanity.
The ‘space plane’ takes off just like an airplane, but faster--at 2,500 mph. The idea is for the plane to travel about 10 miles above Earth where it will release a spaceship carrying passengers, who will then travel about 60 miles from Earth before returning.
Celebrities like Justin Bieber and Ashton Kutcher have already purchased tickets for this flight for just $250,000.
However, it is likely that suborbital commercial tourism and research flights will come before the company ventures outside the Earth’s atmosphere.
He’s not shooting for another planet; this is about the ultimate joy ride in line with Branson’s style of recreation and entertainment.
His goal one day is also to make super-fast transportation, that can get you from New York to Tokyo in a couple of hours. That is, if humanity isn’t extinct by then … If it is, then we’re banking on Musk.
By Michael Scott for Safehaven.com
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