From superhero to villain in a matter of seconds: Elon Musk proposes nuking Mars

Not only has Musk been compared to Leonardo da Vinci, The Atlantic suggested he as one of the most ambitious innovators of this era. In fact, you could also describe him as a superhero. He was Robert Downey Jr’s inspiration for Iron Man after all.

During the planning stages of Iron Man, after Downey had been cast, director Jon Favreau sat down with him to discuss how they would make Tony Stark’s character believable. Downey suggested the best way to do ao was to meet up with Musk – a sort of real life Stark – and observe his various mannerisms, as well as pick his brain on the subject.

Favreau later stated: “Downey was right. Musk is a paragon of enthusiasm, good humour and curiosity – a Renaissance man in an era that needs them.” The resulting Stark character was a more flamboyant version of Musk, with some added flamboyance inspired from Oracle CEO Larry Ellison.

Much like a superhero, Musk has saving the human race on his mind. He has been a big advocate of travelling to Mars. Doing so was urgent and crucial as it would lift billions out of poverty and eradicate deadly diseases, he claimed.

In an interview with Aeon magazine, he said “I think there is a strong humanitarian argument for making life multi-planetary.”

However, this very focus on Mars may have now earned him the title of villain.

Colbert welcomed the CEO onto he Late Show – whereby Musk was once again likened to a real life version of Stark – and the two discussed whether Musk “is sincerely trying to save the world” or has something far more nefarious in mind.

Despite Musk trying to counter the question, Colbert noted: “You’re trying to do good things and you’re a billionaire, which is a little bit like a superhero or villain – you have to choose just one.” 

Read more about Elon Musk:

“I just try to do useful things,” Musk said. 

While discussing Musk’s various business ventures, Colbert asked him about his plan to send people to Mars – which Musk described as a “fixer-up” of a planet.

That led to this exchange:

“Eventually you can transform Mars into an Earth-like planet,” Musk said. “By warming it up.”

“With a blanket?” Colbert asked.

No – he wants to nuke it. The nukes would melt Mars’ polar ice caps and kickstart a greenhouse effect that would quickly make the planet warmer.

As you can imagine, this has started quite the debate!

There is some skepticism in the scientific community that nuking Mars would actually make it more hospitable.

Colbert replied: “That’s what a villain does. Superman doesn’t say, ‘let’s drop thermonuclear bombs,’ that’s Lex Luthor!”

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