Book: Elon Musk to Conquer Mars and the Human Brain

The character is divisive, his Twitter rant makes him sound like a high-tech Donald Trump, he sometimes seems to be talking nonsense, and he didn’t really like the series. Silicon Valley and his sarcastic portrayal of a small world full of itself. By design or not, this clown number is what catches Elon Musk’s attention the most. He “does the show”. Blessed bread for the media and the general public, captivated by your comments about bitcoin or your “crap” emoticon directed at Twitter CEO Parag Agarwal. With the consequence of leaving in a kind of artistic blur the projects that this South African entrepreneur, born in Pretoria in 1971, who became an American citizen in 2002, carries out in the space and automobile sectors, on the satellite Internet and on brain-interfaces. machine.

Everyone has heard of SpaceX or the Starlink constellation, Tesla electric cars and possibly a brain implant called Neuralink. But concretely, what is it? How are these projects changing the game in their respective fields? What is the scientific value really? It is this material that Olivier Lascar, editor-in-chief of the digital division of science and futuredecided to explore.

How Tesla’s “Gigafactories” Work

his book Investigation of Elon Musk, the man who defies science therefore, it is not a biography or a behind-the-scenes investigation of Tesla or SpaceX, much less a book of sulfurous revelations. It is an analysis of the way Elon Musk carries out his projects, makes his technical choices and stands out, especially in space, from the usual ways of doing things. The presentation is far from superficial. This ranges from the design of the Falcon launchers, the propulsion system and the steel (instead of aluminum) skin of the Starship rocket, to the operation of Tesla’s “gigafactories”.

Many experts named by the author cast their gaze, astonished, distant if undisturbed, at reusable launchers, the conquest of Mars, self-driving cars or the hypersonic Hyperloop train: astrophysicists, transport or blockchain specialists, CNRS and CNES researchers, neurosurgeons…

There’s a lot of noise and ad effect, of course. Take the false new idea of ​​the Hyperloop train or underground tunnels for self-driving cars supposedly to alleviate congestion in congested cities, which has all the experts on the subject screaming. Or his ambiguous game around the false autonomy of his Tesla. Not to mention a certain disregard too, as evidenced by the way Musk pushed his Starlink constellation, with little regard for disorder around Earth or astronomical observation.

“Investigation into Elon Musk, the man who defies science”, by Olivier Lascar, Alisio, 224 pages, €18

Make a name for yourself in the drilling industry?

But, as the author points out, Elon Musk’s method lies above all in his ability to drown fish. To make announcements that lead to something different than what everyone imagined. Take the “anti-traffic” tunnels. Is your ambition really to make car traffic more fluid or to impose yourself in the drilling sector with your company created for the occasion, The Boring Company?

And it’s not the scientific articles from the teams working for the entrepreneur’s various companies that will reveal anything: the principle of peer-reviewed scientific publication is totally ignored in Musk. So much so that some experts had to reverse engineer the light reflected by the elements of the Starlink constellation to figure out how the satellites were designed!

The book also pays a little for this tendency to secrecy and the character’s unpredictability: it takes for granted the acquisition of Twitter by Elon Musk in April 2022, when nothing could put the operation in doubt. However, it has been a few weeks since the man seems to be turning back! That said, in a few more weeks, perhaps, this is the end of this article ringing true, when Musk really took over Twitter…

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