Elon Musk, the multibillionaire founder and CEO of SpaceX, recently announced his plans to colonize Mars. In an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session hosted on the website Reddit, Musk also revealed he loves to play World of Warcraft and drink whiskey.
The Mars Colonial Transporter (MCT) project is being developed by Musk as a fully reusable rocket system, capable of lifting humans to the Red Planet. Completely reusable rockets could significantly lower the cost of reaching space, allowing greater numbers of people, and more supplies, off the surface of the Earth.
The design envisioned for the new rocket system would mark a great advance over even the Falcon Heavy rocket, designed by SpaceX to bring space travelers beyond Earth orbit, to asteroids or Mars. The second stage of that craft, scheduled for its first flight in 2015, cannot be recovered.
"Actually, we could make the 2nd stage of Falcon reusable and still have significant payload on Falcon Heavy, but I think our engineering resources are better spent moving on to the Mars system. MCT will have meaningfully higher specific impulse engines: 380 vs 345 vac Isp. For those unfamiliar, in the rocket world, that is a super gigantic difference," Musk said during the AMA session.
Musk stated his favorite airplane of all time is the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, considered to be among the fastest in the world. Starting service in 1966, the last flight of the SR-71 took place in 1999.
The 43-year-old entrepreneur told readers he enjoys playing first-person shooter games with a back story, such as Bioshock, Fallout or Mass Effect, as well as the Civilization series of games and World of Warcraft.
Musk has stated in earlier interviews that he can picture tens of thousands of colonists populating Mars, with the first travelers arriving on the Red Planet sometime in the middle of the 2020s. The capsule bringing humans to Mars could hold as many as 100 people at a time.
In addition to SpaceX, Musk also heads automobile developer Tesla Motors, and is chairman of energy company SolarCity. During the question and answer session, he was asked by one watcher how he manages to learn so much about so many different fields of study.
"[I]t is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, i.e. the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to," Musk advised the questioner.