You may know that Elon Musk is the billionaire tech genius who gave us SpaceX and Tesla. You may have heard about his plans for high-speed tunnels, or about his proposal to use tiny submarines to save those kids who were trapped in the Thai cave.
But Musk has led a very interesting life, to say the least. So we'll wager there's a lot you haven't heard. Like, do you know about his connections to Iron Man and James Bond?
Check out these obscure and intriguing facts about Elon Musk.
1. He sold his first invention at age 12
While others his age were playing video games, young Elon Musk was coding his own, according to Entrepreneur magazine. In 1984, he sold his game, Blastar, to a computer magazine for $500.
The game was fairly simple, and its objective was to blow up an alien ship filled with weapons of mass destruction.
In recent years, Musk has called the game "trivial" but says it was better than Flappy Bird, the super-popular mobile game that went big in 2013.
2. He's the original Iron Man
Though the Iron Man comic book character debuted decades ago, the movie adaptation has drawn a ton of inspiration from Elon Musk’s personality and work.
Hollywood's Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr., reportedly asked to meet with Musk while he was preparing for the first film so he could have a better idea of what a real Tony Stark-style entrepreneur is like.
Musk gave the actor a tour of the SpaceX headquarters, and Downey said he picked up on a few of Musk’s "accessible eccentricities." Musk's SpaceX factory was later used as a location for Iron Man 2.
3. He once lived on $1 a day
When he first left his native South Africa at 17, Musk found his way to Canada and had no place to call home. So, he lived with various cousins, floating from one house to the next, reports The New Yorker.
He has said he often had only $1 a day to spend on food.
He lived primarily on hot dogs and oranges. Though nutritionists may roll their eyes, Musk probably considered that a diet heavy in protein and vitamin C.
4. He opened a frat house 'nightclub'
Musk stayed in Canada for three years, then left to attend the University of Pennsylvania. Money was still an issue, so when he and a Penn classmate were running short on cash, they opened a night club — in their frat house.
They attracted up to 1,000 people to the house and raised enough money to pay their rent.
The classmate, Adeo Ressi, also went on to become a major success in the tech industry. He remembers that although Musk organized the partying, he didn’t participate. Instead, he’d just play video games in his room.
5. He’s a dropout
Yes, Elon Musk did finish that first degree at Penn. But when he enrolled in a master’s program to study physics at Stanford, he quickly realized that the internet had far more potential to change the world.
He quit the program after just two days to start a new company called Zip2, which provided maps and online city guides for news media websites.
Next, he co-founded an online payments site called X.com — which would later become PayPal. It was only a matter of time before Musk would launch SpaceX, and then Tesla.
6. He owns a James Bond car
In 2013, Musk was revealed as the secret buyer in a London auction who paid nearly $1 million for the Lotus Esprit "Wet Nellie," the underwater car from the James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me.
Reportedly, Musk really wanted to make the 1976 movie prop an operating submarine car, but he tweeted in 2017 that it wasn't doable.
He says he would like to create a car design with Tesla technology that would make underwater vehicles a reality.
7. His companies almost went bankrupt
Although Musk is now reportedly worth around $20 billion and Tesla and SpaceX are raging successes, his road to prosperity was had some serious financial bumps.
In 2008, his companies were running out of money and were hovering just a few days away from bankruptcy.
Luckily, a $1.6 billion contract from NASA came through at the last minute, saving Musk's empire. He reportedly cried when he got the news about the contract.
8. He really wants to take people to Mars
Elon Musk has claimed that he will be the first private citizen to get to Mars — and he’s dead serious. The ultimate goal of his spacecraft company SpaceX is to colonize the red planet.
He originally wanted to send mice or plants to Mars and was looking to buy a rocket to launch them on. When existing rockets proved too expensive, he founded SpaceX to build his own.
Why the obsession with Mars? Musk says he wants to increase humanity's chances of survival in our universe, even if Earth doesn't make it — presumably because we’ll destroy our planet with terrible decisions.
9. He owns 5 mansions in Bel Air
In 2012, Musk paid $17 million for his mansion and home base in the ritzy Los Angeles neighborhood of Bel Air.
The next year, he bought another home nearby for almost $7 million. That one had once been owned by Willy Wonka star Gene Wilder. Musk turned it into a private school for his kids.
The school has the fitting name “Ad Astra,” which is Latin for "to the stars." There are no traditional grades, but the curriculum must be out of this world!
Since 2013, Musk has bought another three mansions in Bel Air. He has spent about $72 million on homes in the community.
10. He genuinely fears a Terminator-style Skynet
Remember when the computers took over the world in The Terminator?
Given his experience in the unstoppable tech sector and penchant for forward thinking, Musk really believes that artificial intelligence poses a threat to humanity, just as the Skynet AI system did in the movie.
His solution? Put computer chips in people’s brains to fend off a possible attack. Musk has founded a nonprofit called OpenAI to research ways so robots don't kill us all. Maybe he knows something we don’t?
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