In a not-too-distant future, rocket ships will fly people around the world in a matter of minutes, according to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. At the International Astronautical Congress in Australia on Friday, Musk opened up about SpaceX's progress on its BFR (Big F****ing Rocket) that he hopes will carry humans to Mars by 2024. "If you build a ship that's capable of going to Mars, what if you take that same ship and go from one place to another on Earth?" he asked, per Space.com. Think New York City to Shanghai in about 40 minutes, and LA to Toronto in 24 minutes. Coverage on this and other Musk-related news, including some involving his successful mother:
- Maybe like this: Here's a video animation showing a BFR carrying travelers from New York City to Shanghai in 39 minutes at speeds of 18,000mph.
- Buckle up: Musk did not comment on the turbulence to be expected when exiting and entering the atmosphere on a BFR, which will be roughly 30 feet wide by 350 feet long, per the BBC. Musk expects work on the first BFR to begin next year. The goal is to have two cargo ships travel to Mars by 2022, with two cargo ships and two crewed ships following in 2024.
- How realistic? Well, don't hold your breath about all this. (Musk wants a base on the moon, too.) "Even the most ardent fans of Musk and his ambitions ... cannot really believe the BFR will land humans on Mars seven years from now," writes Eric Berger at Ars Technica. "We don't." But Musk's 40-minute presentation had enough "tidbits of plausibility" to make discounting his vision entirely seem "foolhardy."
- Elon's mom: Musk's mother is 69-year-old Maye Musk, who is a dietitian and nutritionist with two master's degree. She also happens to have 50 years of modeling experience, and she just became a new CoverGirl model, only the latest achievement in an impressive run of late. The New York Times has a Q&A with her.
- No family privileges: Asked if she's scored a new Tesla 3 yet, she tells the Times, "I’m at around 300,000. Even though I have good connections, I can’t jump the line." (Her son, of course, also is CEO of Tesla.) Business Insider quotes a cousin of Elon Musk's who confirms that being related to the CEO brings no special favors when it comes to Teslas.
- $50 million challenge: As of Friday, the clock is ticking on Musk's promise to build the world's largest lithium ion plant in Australia in 100 days, reports CNBC. Musk has promised to deliver in time or he won't charge the government a dime. It could cost him $50 million.
(Read more SpaceX