Elon Musk ended 2015 by making history with his SpaceX rocket launch and while that may be enough for some people, one achievement will just never be enough for Musk. The technological tycoon has made his mark across a number of fields, from space exploration and cars to high-speed transportation systems and solar energy, and he certainly isn’t about to slow down. Before he completely dominates 2016, we decided to look back on the top 13 headlines that starred our favorite engineer from the past year.
Btw, we are actually working on a charger that automatically moves out from the wall & connects like a solid metal snake. For realz.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 31, 2014
December 31, 2014
Musk decided to officially begin 2015 by dropping a Twitter bomb in the shape of “a solid metal snake” charger that will slither from the wall and connect itself to your Tesla. No big deal.
Will be building a Hyperloop test track for companies and student teams to test out their pods. Most likely in Texas.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 15, 2015
January 15, 2015
Via his Twitter (which you should seriously follow if you don’t already), Musk announced that he would be building a five-mile-long Hyperloop test track “for companies and students to test out their pods.” He went on to say that he was thinking about “having an annual student Hyperloop pod racer competition, like Formula SAE,” which most likely meant that he was planning on leaving that project pretty open for anyone wanting to be involved. Currently, the Hyperloop test track is underway adjacent to SpaceX’s Hawthorne, California headquarters, with the competition planned for summer 2016.
January 24, 2015
Tesla was featured pretty prominently in the Musk-financed Racing Extinction documentary that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 24. Directed by Oscar-winner Louie Psihoyos (The Cove), the movie focuses on the anthropogenic mass extinction of species which scientists and activists are desperately trying to stop. Tesla designed a totally custom Model S that they fit with a 15,000 lumen system that projected images of extinct and critically-endangered species onto the façades of very public buildings, including Wall Street, the Vatican, the Empire State Building and the United Nations headquarters. Inspired by bioluminescence, the special Model S even boasted an electro-luminescent paint job that was the first of its kind.
January 26, 2015
The CEO made his first appearance on The Simpsons, playing himself in an episode called The Musk Who Fell to Earth (which, in case you didn’t know, is also an excellent David Bowie reference). Though the show calls him “possibly the greatest living inventor,” they still poke fun at how insane his ideas actually are. In the episode, he suggests such inventions as yoga mats that roll themselves up, self-packing luggage (yes, please!) and quadcopters that also play the violin. He even brings up the Hyperloop as a possible system for Springfield.
March 2, 2015
Tesla officially opened their very first solar-powered supercharger/store/service station in Rocklin, California. Unlike their previous charging stations throughout the country, this one doesn’t run from a conventional power grid and is totally supported by solar energy. Plus, this place is also a showroom where you can check out new cars and get your Model S serviced.
April 8, 2015
Musk and Tesla replaced the base Model S with the upgraded 70D, announcing that the car “includes supercharging to enable free long-distance travel, autopilot hardware, navigation, blind spot detection and many other features.” They also unveiled three new colors: Ocean Blue, Obsidian Black and Warm Silver.
May 7, 2015
We have been waiting to see the $35k Tesla Model 3 for far too long, but the March 2016 reveal date Musk gave in May finally seems to be approaching. The auto will be considerably cheaper than the company’s other models, which tend to start at around $75k, and will bring the technology to a much wider clientele. So far, the Model 3 is still expected to hit the roads in 2017.
Ludicrous speed, 70 kWh rear drive and 90 kWh battery pack http://t.co/kr9A0iXM58
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 18, 2015
July 17, 2015
Musk announced on July 17 that Tesla would be adding a brand new “Ludicrous” mode to the Model S, which gave the car some serious speed. Able to get from 0-60 in just 2.8 seconds (which is faster than the previous “Insane” mode’s 3.1-second time), Musk promised that driving it would be “like having your own private roller coaster.”
November 26, 2015
The Simpsons wasn’t the only popular television show that Musk popped up in last year. For its Thanksgiving episode, The Big Bang Theory nabbed him for a soup kitchen scene with Howard, Simon Helberg’s character. Basically, in this scene, Howard is all of us when he says, “I really want you to adopt me.”
September 10, 2015
Remember that time Musk appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and suggested we could make Mars habitable the “fast way” by dropping “thermonuclear weapons over the poles”? It was awesome. Calling it a “fixer-upper of a planet,” he told Colbert that by warming it up, eventually humanity could move on over. He later on clarified his comments by explaining that he didn’t want to actually nuke the surface of Mars, but just the sky over its poles to make “suns” over the planet, which would essentially warm the atmosphere and turn frozen carbon dioxide into gas. When Musk says these things, he means it since he legitimately wants to colonize Mars.
The clip is also worth watching for Musk’s joke about not “dropping anything when you're near [the snake charger].”
September 29, 2015
After teasing the Model X launch for what felt like forever, Tesla finally unveiled their brand new electric SUV. Musk took to the stage in Fremont, California to present the all-wheel electric car, saying “It’s important to show that any type of car can go electric. We did it with the sports car, the sedan, and, now, we’re going to show it with an SUV.” If you reserved one, the delivery date is still set for late 2016.
December 11, 2015
Musk has always been vocal regarding his interest in (and concern about) artificial intelligence, so when he announced the creation of OpenAI, we weren’t surprised. The not-for-profit AI research company is dedicated to developing AI that is beneficial and safe for the world, while at the same time making sure that other companies and governments aren’t able to take advantage.
December 21, 2015
And finally, the SpaceX rocket launch that changed everything. The 15-story Falcon 9 soared into orbit, released 11 satellites and then remarkably returned back to Earth where it landed vertically just six miles from its launch site. The fact that the company was able to bring a fully-functioning rocket back to Earth is a big deal, opening up the future possibility of reusable rockets and space tourism.