File photo: Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk smiles as he participates in a forum about startups in Hong Kong, China, January 26, 2016. (REUTERS/Bobby Yip)
Or the DC Comics versus Marvel, Nike versus Reebok, or Apple vs. Microsoft, there’s nothing like a friendly competition to raise the stakes — and spark a little crazy, and innovation in the process. Now we have our final showdown to add to the collection: SpaceX founder Elon Musk compared to Boeing. What is at stake? Ability to claim on the getting the first man on Mars, apparently.
The first shots were fired Thursday, 7 December, when CNBC host Jim Cramer questioned Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg on the question of whether the established giant would be able to beat SpaceX. “We are working on the next generation rocket now with our NASA customers, the so-called ‘Space Launch System’, Muilenburg said. “This is a rocket that is about 36 stories high. We are in the last now meeting, down near New Orleans, and we go to a first test flight in 2019. And we’re going to do with a slingshot mission around the moon.”
He added that “Eventually we’re going to go to Mars and I’m convinced that the first person to set foot on Mars will get there in a Boeing rocket.” This is the second time Muilenburg proposed a similar triumph for Boeing, which previously said on a 2016 conference in Chicago “I am convinced that the first person to set foot on Mars will arrive there, drive on a Boeing rocket.”
Like waving a red rag to a Tesla Model 3, the statement quickly provoked Musk to respond on Twitter with the two words that so well sum up his career: “Do it.”
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OK, so on a certain level, this is Twitter drama, which usually peters out after a couple of hashtags and the number of retweets. But we’re talking about a man who told me that his plan for the giants with an electric car was madness, but still managed; who has figured out how to land a rocket vertically; who is drilling giant underground tunnels for the high speed of transportation; and — more importantly — who constantly talk Space X rocket, which he plans to use to take people to Mars.
This is a bet we are pleased to see the result. Whoever wins is going to be in the line for some serious bragging rights.