Today, December 1st, Elon Musk was awarded the 2020 Axel Springer Award during a special ceremony called, “An Evening for Elon Musk – Mission to Mars,” that was Livestreamed from Berlin, Germany. The annual award “honors outstanding personalities who are innovative in an extraordinary way, who create and change markets and who shape culture while at the same time shouldering their social responsibility.” The Axel Springer Award has been awarded for five consecutive years. The Chief Executive Officer of Axel Springer, Mathias Döpfner, stated that he selected Musk as the award’s recipient because he is a visionary. “As one of the most creative entrepreneurs and most brilliant engineers of the digital age, Elon Musk inspires an entire generation. He combines great visions with the indomitable will to achieve them,” he wrote in a statement, “With PayPal, SpaceX and Tesla, Elon Musk has turned entire industries upside down, and his drive is irrepressible. He is motivated by the goal of making life better for humanity. And not in small steps, but by fundamentally turning the way we do things on their head. With incredible success,” Döpfner said.
The event welcomed Musk aboard a spaceship-themed conference room where a small audience prepared to embark on a theatrical voyage to Mars. The room looked amazing with screens all around that simulated a journey among the stars aboard a spacecraft. During the event Döpfner interviewed Musk, he asked, “…When do you think, realistically, human beings will land on Mars for the first time?” to which Musk responded –“I feel fairly confident about six years from now… Earth Mars synchronization occurs roughly every 26 months,” he said, “…If we get lucky maybe four years. We want to try to send an uncrewed vehicle there [Mars] in two years.”
Döpfner asked Musk when will his first trip to orbit be, Musk stated – “possibly in 2 or 3 years. I am mostly concerned with developing the technology that can enable a lot of people to go to Mars, and make life multiplanetary; have a base on the moon, a city on Mars,” he said. “I think it is important to have a self-sustaining city on Mars as soon as possible. I mean, I am optimistic about the future on Earth but its important to have insurance for life as a whole,” he added.
Döpfner asked if SpaceX plans to accomplish this to have space tourism business in orbit or if its Plan B for life on Earth. –“Its not exactly Plan B,” Musk said, “… I think there is two aspects to this: One is that we want to have a future that is inspiring, exciting. […] A future where we are a spacefaring civilization and out there among the stars… every kid gets excited about that, you don’t even need to teach them, it’s instinctive. […] It is very important for us to have reasons to be excited about life, like when you wake up in the morning it can’t just be about problems… its gotta’ be more than that,” he said. During the event he talked about SpaceX, Tesla, Artificial Intelligence, his thoughts about life, among other interesting subjects. You can watch the full Axel Springer award ceremony and interview in the video below.
Watch 2020 Axel Springer Award “An Evening for Elon Musk – Mission to Mars”