Elon Musk: The Man With His Mind in the Future

By Trevor Gilbert , written on July 12, 2012

From The News Desk

Tonight at the PandoMonthly fireside chat between Elon Musk and Sarah Lacy, we got into some crazy, far-out science. Or science fiction. Or possibly even fantasy.

Musk is known for pushing the boundaries, by founding PayPal, Tesla Motor Co., and SpaceX, each of which pushed the boundaries of what insiders thought was possible for a startup. Now, each of the companies are worth many billions of dollars. So when Musk says something crazy, it’s not just some guy off his rocker. It’s a guy who knows what he is talking about.

When asked what Musk was looking to do in the future, he responded with his typical exuberance for pushing the boundaries. Here are a few ideas that Musk is considering for the future:

  1. An electric-powered jet. According to Musk, there are some serious drawbacks for rocket-powered jets, which could be rectified with an electric jet. Quicker take-offs and landing, faster speeds, and decreased drag.
  2. Fusion. Musk believes that fusion power is a possibility for the future. A magnetic type of fusion, according to Musk, “a relatively standard type of fusion, if you will.”
  3. The Hyperloop. Musk’s boldest idea is a fifth mode of transportation, which would displace the other modes of transportation (cars, trains, planes, boats). According to Musk, this would enable people to travel between LA and San Francisco in less than thirty minutes, would be self-sustaining, and would be cheaper.
As with all things that Musk says, the ideas seem over the top. But ten years ago, the idea of a private space exploration company was ridiculous. And 50 years before that, the idea of going into space at all was a pipe-dream.

With these ideas in the queue for Musk, is he going to retire? As he said, "maybe when I'm 80."

This and more at the livestream of the fireside chat.