If you know me, then you know that I am a big fan of all things Elon Musk, but especially his spectacular endeavors at SpaceX. I have long believed that the commercial exploitation of space–as opposed to its continued government monopoly–is the future of human space travel, and I believe Elon Musk represents the bleeding edge of that reality.
What has amused me for some time about Musk’s and SpaceX’s endeavors is the number of detractors and naysayers he attracts. There are a host of smart people determined to be the first who says it can’t be done and be right, yet time after time, Musk and crew prove them wrong, if not exactly on anyone’s timetable.
This fact brings to mind an idea from American history fraught with peril and controversy, and that idea is Manifest Destiny. I’m not referring to the part where people believed it was the white, Protestant, Anglo-Saxon right to own North America, but rather the part where so many people risked their time, fortunes, and lives to do things so many people said could not be done. We forget that Manifest Destiny had many, many detractors, yet those pioneers and prospectors proved them all wrong.
I see Musk and SpaceX in much the same light. He said he would build a reusable rocket, lots of people said he couldn’t, and he proved them wrong. He said he would build the first commercial crew capsule, lots of people said he didn’t know how, and he’s proving them wrong. He says he’s going to send people to the Moon and Mars, and well, you get the picture.
In the end, I think Musk represents what’s right with the American spirit. He’s the kind of man, a naturalized citizen with an idea, who helped make America the nation that it is and who will shape the nation it will yet be. We need more Musks, not less, the critics be damned.