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Musk’s superhero inspiration

If Elon Musk sounds like a real-life Tony Stark—the comic-book industrialist also known as Iron Man—that is no coincidence.

Elon Musk likes to think big, said Andrew Smith in The Daily Telegraph (U.K.). The South African–born entrepreneur and inventor sold his company, PayPal, for $180 million 10 years ago. Instead of retiring, he set up two risky new ventures: SpaceX, a commercial space exploration company, and Tesla, an electric car manufacturer. Today, both are billion-dollar corporations. If Musk sounds like a real-life Tony Stark—the comic-book industrialist also known as Iron Man—that is no coincidence. “I read a lot of comics growing up, and I think that influenced me,” says Musk, 42. “I mean, [superheroes] are always trying to save the world.’’ So is Musk. He believes humans could, and should, colonize Mars within 20 years. “There are two reasons to go to Mars. One is defensive, as a form of life insurance [against] catastrophic events such as comet strikes. And the other is that it will be the greatest adventure ever!” He’s keen to go himself, if he can invent a rocket capable of delivering him back to Earth. “In the best of circumstances I go, come back, and then when I’m, say, 75 years old, go again. I’ve got to die somewhere, and where better than Mars? Be pretty cool!”

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