Last Wednesday, Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk appeared on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert and discussed his vision for the human habitation of Mars. The Inquisitr has reported on the seeming divide between the scientific and investor communities with regard to Musk’s plans with headlines, “Elon Musk, Colbert Interview Pack of Lies?” and “Elon Musk, Colbert Interview Slick Stock Trading Con?” and noted an apparent lack of support from the scientific community.
“It appears that, until this point, Musk and Tesla have had the science community at their back, and that now, some are standing up and crying, ‘Hold up. Hold up.'”
“The Inquisitr is currently unable to find published examples of any scientists rushing to Musk’s defense on this issue, which might seem significant in itself.”
“… scientists say it’s not as crazy as it sounds,” reads the International Business Times headline, perhaps in response to the Inquisitr, with regard to Musk’s Stephen Colbert interview plan to “nuke Mars,” which Musk is now backing away from on Twitter.
Statements made by Malcolm MacDonald, a director with the Scottish Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications chair of the U.K. Space Agency’s Space Programme Review Panel, held up by IBT as a scientist saying it’s “not crazy,” do not appear to jibe.
“… humans have certainly changed climate by interfering with it. But, nuclear weapons? I’m not sure I understand the mechanism of how it could warm the planet… I have sanity-checked things Elon Musk has said in the past and they do tend to be possible in theory… he has made money with Space X and Tesla.”
Mr. MacDonald appears to clearly communicate that he is “not sure” he understands the mechanism of how detonating nuclear bombs on Mars could warm the plant, as Musk suggested with Stephen Colbert. He then appears happy to take Musk at his word, the CEO of Tesla, a $32 billion company, based on “sanity-check”ing him in the past.
Robert Walker, an inventor with degrees in math and philosophy, wrote on Science 2.0 with regard to Musk’s Stephen Colbert interview.
“I found it surprising how seriously his rather off the cuff, and joking, remark has been taken by some reporters, reported as a major news story by many journalists.”
What MacDonald and Walker, who appear to be legitimate scientists, do not appear to understand, is that if they made these statements, or Art Bell did, or the late Leonard Nimoy did, it would be different.
MacDonald and Walker both seem to not take the idea of a plan to “nuke mars” seriously, so they probably wouldn’t have gotten on national television with Stephen Colbertand made such statements. If they did, it would only be their professional reputation at stake, not billions invested in the stock market by shareholders. They have no fiduciary duty.
Art Bell and Leanord Nimoy could fairly be described as forward-thinking and thoroughly immersed in science fiction, if not outright science. They are and were celebrities and are and were responsible to no one. They have no fiduciary duty either.
Elon Musk, on the other hand, has a massive fiduciary duty. He certainly has a reputation of being a visionary, but MacDonald’s statement that Musk has “made money with SpaceX and Tesla” is puzzling.
As SpaceX is a privately-held company, how MacDonald could state that Musk has “made money” with it, makes no sense. And the truth is, Musk has probably lost money on SpaceX. The SpaceX Falcon rocket, shown in the Stephen Colbert clip below, failed miserably.
Musk and a great many Tesla shareholders have made money, but the company has yet to regularly turn a profit. SolarCity Corporation (NASDAQ: SCTY), another Musk project, is bleeding money quickly and Seeking Alpha has asked if the GigaFab is turning into a “white elephant.” If Tesla and SolarCity don’t meet current, already greatly reduced, earnings expectations, after all the hype Musk has built around them, shares may not be able to hold onto their current rich valuations.
MacDonald and Walker are not widely-known scientists, but they are two of the only scientists who have made public statements, held up, even partially defending Musk’s Stephen Colbert show Mars plans.
Listen to what Neil deGrasse Tyson, someone who appears to have knowledge of profits and losses, had to say to Business Insider in 2013.
The GigaFab, SpaceX, and colonizing Mars: each is a visionary and even humanitarian cause. However, to investors in TSLA and SCTY shares, staring at blood-red earnings summaries, the vision could easily be seen, more and more as time passes, as the moves of a master hype and con man, and The Late Show With Stephen Colbert “nuke mars” interview as icing on the cake.
Further, for a moment, imagine that Stephen Colbert had an inkling that there were problems with Musk, Tesla, SolarCity, or SpaceX, which he has not made any statements toward. But imagine for a moment. Would Colbert’s handling of Musk be any different than what viewers saw last Wednesday night?