February 26, 2013
Inventor-entrepreneur-billionaire Elon Musk has conquered space and dates starlets. Now all he wants to do is save humanity.
*Illustration by DKNG Studios
Just 41, Elon Musk has already packed several lifetimes’ worth of achievement into a career that calls to mind such inventors and big thinkers as Thomas Edison, Ben Franklin, and whoever invented lollipops. He’s parlayed the fortune he made as a founder of PayPal into cutting-edge electric-car company Tesla Motors and private space-travel outfit SpaceX (which supplies the International Space Station with provisions). “I’ve always been interested in things I thought would affect human destiny—the Internet, sustainable energy, and space,” says the man who was the model for Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark in the Iron Man movies. Musk envisions a future where we colonize Mars, shed our dependency on foreign oil, and can travel from L.A. to San Francisco in 30 minutes. “I feel like I’m here at the right time,” says Musk. “If not for the Internet, where it’s possible to start with no capital and end up with a valuable company, it would have taken me a long time to build up these other businesses. It’s important to remember that being a good global citizen and a good businessman are not mutually exclusive.”
More of 2013's Best Geeks
5 New Toys That Blew Our Minds