Yesterday’s post looked at the merging, downsizing, and shrinking research budgets of corporate America.
But today, there is Elon Musk. Last night, Musk’s SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket that successfully deployed 11 suborbital satellites while its first stage returned to earth and landed upright. Successfully landing and reusing the suborbital stage is a key step in SpaceX’s plan to create low-cost space flight. In four previous attempts, the rockets had crashed on impact.
SpaceX’s competitor, Blue Origin, which is backed by Amazon (AMZN) co-founder Jeff Bezos, already landed a suborbital rocket in Texas last month, but Musk tried to minimize that accomplishment by saying the rocket was smaller than the Falcon 9. Last night, Bezos tweeted to Musk: “Congrats @SpaceX on landing suborbital booster stage. Welcome to the club!”
Also yesterday, Fortune published an interview with Musk in which he claimed his car company, Tesla (TSLA), will be producing a complete self-driving car within two years – far faster than others, such as Google (GOOG), are promising. “It’s a much easier problem than people think it is,” Musk told us.
And did we mention Musk wants to colonize Mars, revolutionize intercity transportation, and create “responsible” artificial intelligence, so robots don’t destroy the world?
Dow & DuPont may be lowering their ambitions, but Elon Musk is just getting warmed up.
On a less cosmic note, ever wonder how CEOs would run the North Pole? Watch Fortune’s fun holiday greeting here.
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