Yesterday Elon Musk launched a rocket with a car at the top into space and I’m curious about where he got the idea from. I mean, when you’re a kid playing with Lego and hot wheels cars sometimes imagination led to putting a car on a spaceship but that kind of lateral thinking is often laughed at. I guess I admire his creativity as much as his daring vision to get to Mars and make re-useable rockets. Ok there are some actual reasons a car was launched – they needed to have a test payload, something that could mimic sending up a big, heavy object. But people have been critical, worried about space junk, concerned about this being a publicity stunt. It got me thinking about what criteria people filter their assumptions.
I also think people didn’t like him having a laugh while doing it. He played music (tribute to David Bowie) made references to books/movies like (Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy) and made history. Ok so a slight error – overshot Mars orbit and is heading a bit further out but there is no risk of the cherry red Tesla Roadster speeding through our atmosphere and exploding in a flaming ball worthy of any Hollywood movie…unless there is some gravity anomaly that sling shots it back. So people need to chill IMHO.
Much of the criticism I have heard is about ‘spacejunk’. People are really passionate and quite emotional about it online and sure – there are concerns about the amount of stuff accumulating and hurtling around just above us. So why do things like this, irk people? I think it has a lot to do with our belief in ‘common sense’ and how we view success and failure. Elon Musk is an entrepreneur, a risk taker and is very successful – it could be a bit of envy. As a species we have a tendency to cut down people who stand out. Also he is focussed on the future, which tends to reach for things beyond here and now so it can seem like he is not interested in ‘earthly’ type stuff – which is far from accurate (just see what he has been up to trying to develop clean energy). I also think we think too highly of our own understanding of things – yes – we don’t bother to read, understand, think and look at context. Our tendency is to rush at our first impulsive though and believe our opinions are accurate.
So next time you hear and ‘adulty’ person say to a kid ‘you can’t put that on there it wont work – it’s not rocket science’ well…no…it just might be. Finally I love that there is someone in the drivers seat of the roadster – otherwise that would just be weird.