In BriefLove him or hate him, Elon Musk ruled 2017. From exploring our potential as cyborgs to the realistic next steps for colonizing Mars, Musk is changing life as we know it.
2017 could arguably be called the year of Elon Musk. Love him or hate him, he seemed to be everywhere, doing just about everything. From Australian megabatteries, to teasing the world by suggesting he might blast a Tesla Roadster into space, Musk has dipped his toes into every sector. From Neuralink to Tesla to SpaceX and even the Boring Company, Musk is revolutionizing the way we think about and approach transportation, space travel, and even our own brains. So let’s take a look back at 2017 through the Twitter of the man who is taking reality and shaping it for the future:
Musk’s first tweet of 2017 marked progress in the reusable Falcon 9 rockets. Within this year alone, SpaceX launched 16 Falcon 9 rockets. In the new year, they expect to launch the Falcon Heavy, which includes boosters and modified first-stages from Falcon 9 rockets. The advancement of reusable rockets will allow us to further embrace space exploration.
Hold-down firing of @SpaceX Falcon 9 at Vandenberg Air Force completed. All systems are go for launch next week.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 5, 2017
Later in January, Musk retweeted Tesla on exploring the potential of long-term battery life and charging networks for electric vehicles. These developing technologies will be a firm part of the foundation that allows us to develop EV-friendly infrastructure and break away from fossil fuels.
Building the Supercharger Network for the Future https://t.co/siR67vPd2T
— Tesla (@Tesla) January 13, 2017
— Hyperloop (@Hyperloop) January 22, 2017
Musk also made clear social commentary. He denounced the travel ban that the president signed in late January, while also asking for specific public suggestions on how to present his dissatisfaction to Donald Trump, as Musk was still on his advisory board at the time.
Please read immigration order. Lmk specific amendments. Will seek advisory council consensus & present to President. https://t.co/qLpbsP4lEk
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 29, 2017
NASA announced in February that solar arrays were deployed on the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, an announcement that Musk retweeted. This cargo craft has furthered the relationship between the government-based and private aerospace organizations.
— NASA (@NASA) February 19, 2017
When a group of scientists revisited the Drake equation in March, Musk even eloquently inquired about the current status of extraterrestrial detection. This year, many advances have been made to further our understanding of what could make life in the universe possible, as efforts made to detect habitable planets and contact potential extraterrestrial neighbors continued to move forward.
Where are the #%*> aliens? https://t.co/FDuJIdwgrN
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 24, 2017
Musk also retweeted OpenAI, which he helped to found. This year saw an incredible array of advancements in artificial intelligence and in the ability of these systems to learn.
A neural network teaches itself to analyze sentiment after only being trained to predict the next character: https://t.co/hrITHKHM24
— OpenAI (@OpenAI) April 6, 2017
Neuralink took the world by storm as it brought to the forefront the concept of brain-computer interfaces. Musk’s work towards this “cyborg” goal became actualized this year.
— Tim Urban (@waitbutwhy) April 20, 2017
In May, as throughout the year, Musk joked about his pun-titled Boring Company while they continue to dig and make progress in building a tunnel under Los Angeles. The L.A. tunnel will be used to ferry cars and people, and eventually, the company hopes, house a working Hyperloop.
What I love about The Boring Company are the low expectations. Nowhere to go but down.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 17, 2017
After President Trump announced his intentions to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, Elon Musk publicly stated his departure from the President’s advisory council. He concisely expressed his feelings about the departure and the very real threats of climate change on Twitter.
Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 1, 2017
Looking beyond the problems of our own planet, Musk also further legitimized plans to go to Mars. Previous inklings of future hopes to colonize the red planet became developing plans.
Mars V2 plan coming soon, which I think addresses the most fundamental flaw in V1: how to pay for development & operation of giant rockets https://t.co/yaITdVdpEc
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 16, 2017
Through Tesla, Musk bet the cost of the battery that he could build the world’s largest lithium-ion battery for Southern Australia. And amazingly, he pulled it off ahead of schedule.
— HuffPost Australia (@HuffPostAU) July 7, 2017
Despite his continued investment and work in its advancement, in August Musk warned the public of the potential dangers of AI. He stressed the need for regulation of this potentially disruptive technology.
Nobody likes being regulated, but everything (cars, planes, food, drugs, etc) that’s a danger to the public is regulated. AI should be too.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 12, 2017
Musk unveiled the aptly named “BFR” rocket, which is a work in progress that is part of SpaceX’s plan to get to Mars.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 29, 2017
In October, Tesla jumped into action to assist Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, sending Powerpacks and solar panels to the island as well as discussing plans to restore its grid. Musk retweeted a series of pictures sent by Tesla from the island.
— Tesla (@Tesla) October 24, 2017
October’s Musk tweet of the month was perhaps this haunting photo, of a competed section of the Boring Company’s tunnel under L.A:
Picture of The Boring Company LA tunnel taken yesterday pic.twitter.com/TfdVKyXFsJ
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 28, 2017
In November, Musk and Tesla finally revealed the Tesla semi, the electric semi truck that promises to make long-distance shipping a greener and more energy-efficient industry. Large companies have already responded to the new semi with enthusiasm.
Tesla Semi pic.twitter.com/7VLz7F46Ji
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 17, 2017
He also took to Twitter to publicly confirmed rumors that the Boring company would compete for the contract to build a tunnel connecting Chicago’s airport to the city’s downtown, but clarified that the short route would not be a hyperloop.
The Boring Company will compete to fund, build & operate a high-speed Loop connecting Chicago O’Hare Airport to downtown https://t.co/bRqKpzSJjz
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 30, 2017
In December, Musk managed to sneak one last success through the closing door of 2017, when the battery Tesla built for South Australia smoothly kicked in to save the region’s energy grid after a coal plant failure. Afterwards, he retweeted an article about how the battery is already re-shaping the energy market in Australia.
— Mark Nottingham (@mnot) December 19, 2017
From defying government decisions to supporting efforts against climate change, revolutionizing transportation, and making a human future on Mars seem possible, Elon Musk has had a big year. As it drew to a close, however, he did take time to appreciate the network that let him share it all with us.
I love Twitter
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 21, 2017
Here’s to hoping that this pioneer will be just as busy in 2018.