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Elon Musk is Still Working Towards Mars

Recently, multi-billionaire CEO of SpaceX and co-founder of electric car giant Tesla’s Elon Musk has reaffirmed that his biggest goal is to someday colonize Mars. The business tycoon has long been documented as having quite the affinity for the red planet and has dedicated most of his adult life to the pursuit of humans being an interplanetary species. Although SpaceX makes a living currently off of both delivering satellites into outer space for a variety of US and international clients and delivering supplies to the International Space Station, Musk’s true intention with SpaceX is to use it as a vehicle through which Mars may one day be colonized. To aid the engineer and his team he is calling upon the Falcon Heavy. Although this may sound like a fictional science fiction aircraft it is actually quite real and quite powerful. The first test flight of the Falcon Heavy, SpaceX’s largest rocket to date, is scheduled for later this summer although SpaceX is frequently known to push back scheduled launches in order to fine tune their design. This is completely understandable of course seeing that each launch of the Falcon Heavy is estimated to cost around ninety million dollars. Even Musk himself has said that it is unlikely the Falcon Heavy will be successful on its first attempt at space flight due to the almost insurmountable number of steps and stages that need to happen with near impossible perfection in order to be successful. It’s unlikely that in any of our lifetimes we will see Mars be fully colonized. But if I’m putting money on anyone or any company to achieve the mammoth feat it’s going to be Elon Musk and his brainchild SpaceX.

Tesla’s Solar Roof Installations Start in California

With some serious word of mouth behind it, Tesla’s newest venture into solar technology– a combination of hidden solar cells and high-end glass tales they call a “solar roof”– will see its practical application this month in California.


The interest in such an innovative product is easy to understand. Elon Musk’s company breaks ground every time they introduce technology.


While solar panels have increased in popularity over the years, they always served the same purpose: to create usable solar energy. The Tesla roof offers a deluxe, expensive tiling that adds the solar power as almost a bonus. Musk’s marketing it as a replacement for solar panels may mislead customers, as the roof is, in fact, a full, luxury roof.


Despite Musk’s claims that including the solar electricity it will cost “less than a traditional roof”, the Tesla roof will sell for around $65,000 (three times the price of other solar panels) while producing a fraction of the energy per foot. This makes it likely not worth the cost unless one not only wants solar panels but also needs to replace his entire roof.


Meanwhile, with such an ambiguous product description, many customers seem to be holding out until they have more information. In general, growth in the solar industry in California is falling, and the lack of transparency in this case is affecting interest.


The truth is, the Tesla roof is in a category of its own, as a complete high-end roof with solar capabilities. Although the buzz about solar products is good, the misleading way that Musk has marketed the Tesla roof may ultimately damage the solar industry. The ambiguity about this high-end product will likely not convince those interested in solar panels.

Tesla Looking Into Disconnecting Superchargers for “Solar+Battery” Power System

While Tesla has been discussing the addition to solar arrays and batteries to “Supercharger” stations since 2012, only six of over 800 stations ever got an array. While Elon Musk, CEO of the company, said that more batteries and solar systems would be added to the third iteration of the Supercharger system, he went on to  declare that most Superchargers would be disconnected from electrical grids.


In prior discussions, Musk claimed that Tesla’s solar arrays and the company’s new Powerpack would power Superchargers located in sunny regions, rather than leaving them to be powered by regional electrical grids. While these measures are sensible, it remains unclear as to why Tesla will unplug its stations from the grid-especially when it could be useful for net metering.


Musk’s most recent remarks on Twitter seem to be in response to claims that Tesla’s Superchargers supplied “dirty power” from coal. While somewhat true, the fact remains that such claims are senseless unless they are being made to push a move toward sustainable energies. Recent studies indicate that the electricity generated by a moderate American electric car is roughly the same as a 73 mpg gas-powered car. Even in areas that mostly gain electricity from coal, electric cars remain more fuel-efficient.


Depending on the scale and success of a Supercharger station, which ranges from 6 to 20 stalls, Tesla would require massive solar arrays that would nearly take up a football field-sized amount of space. Without some massive surges in efficiency, it remains unclear how such a shift would be feasible.


Earlier this year, Tesla declared that its Supercharger network would expand to include stations equipped with 50-100 stalls, complete with large carports. Tesla may begin showing results when it begins production of Tesla-branded solar panels in conjunction with Panasonic. Currently, Tesla’s plans for expansion are doing well; Tesla is currently overseeing various stages of development and permit acquisition for 40-plus stations since announcing the measures in March of 2017.