Book: Elon Musk to conquer Mars and the human brain

The character is divisive, he looks like high-tech Donald Trump when he rants on Twitter, sometimes it seems trivial and he doesn’t like the series very much. Silicon Valley and his sarcastic description of a small world full of himself. By design or not, this clown number often gets Elon Musk’s attention. He’s “making a show”. Lucky bread for the media and the general public, who were fascinated by his cookie-cutter comments on bitcoin or his “dirt” emoticon addressed to Twitter CEO Parag Agarwal. In consequence of the departure from a kind of artistic blur the projects that the South African entrepreneur, born in Pretoria in 1971, who became an American citizen in 2002, have undertaken in the space and transport sectors, on the Internet via satellites and interfaces. brilliant brain.

Everyone has heard about 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 even the scientific value? This material by Olivier Lascar, editor-in-chief of the digital division of Science and the Futuredecided to explore.

How Tesla “gigafactories” work.

His book Investigation by Elon Musk, the man who fights science therefore not a biography or a behind-the-scenes investigation of Tesla or SpaceX, more of a book of sulfur revelations. It’s an examination of the way Elon Musk conducts 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 ranged from the design of the Falcon launcher, to the propulsion system and the steel (rather than aluminum) skin of the Starship rocket, to the operation of Tesla’s “gigafactories”.

Many experts called by the author are looking, amazed, far if not disgusted, at reusable launchers, the conquest of Mars, autonomous cars or the Hyperloop hypersonic train: astrophysicists, transport or blockchain specialists, CNRS and CNES researchers, neurosurgeons…

Lots of bluster and announcement effects of course. Witness the false new idea of ​​the Hyperloop train or the underground tunnels for autonomous vehicles that are supposed to alleviate congestion in crowded cities, screaming at all the subject matter specialists. Or his ambiguous game around his Tesla’s false autonomy. Not to mention a certain omission also, as evidenced in the way Musk pushed his Starlink constellation, with little regard to the clutter around the Earth or astronomical observation.

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

Make a name for yourself in the drilling sector?

But as the author points out, Elon Musk’s technique is largely in his ability to drown the fish. To make announcements that lead to something different from what everyone thought. Take the “anti-traffic jam” tunnels. Is the ambition really to make vehicle traffic more seamless or to push itself into the drilling sector with the company set up for the occasion, The Boring Company?

And it’s not the scientific articles from groups working for different entrepreneurial companies that will reveal anything: the principle of scientific publication with peer review is completely ignored in Musk. So some specialists have to reverse-engineer from the light reflected by the elements of the Starlink constellation to figure out how the satellites are designed!

The book also pays little for this tendency to secrecy and its unpredictable character: it provides Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover in April 2022, without which there can be no doubt in the operation. However, it has been a few weeks since the man seemed to be retreating! That being said, in a few more weeks, perhaps, it will be the end of this article that is true, when Musk actually took to Twitter …

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