Science

Elon Musk tells Colbert why humanity *needs* a reusable rocket (video)

Colbert with Musk
Image Credit: Comedy Central

Elon Musk, the closest thing we have to a real-life Tony Stark (aka Iron Man), visited the set of Comedy Central’s Colbert Report last night to chat about his various accomplishments as well as what’s in store for his future.

Naturally, host Stephen Colbert asked a set of tough questions, such as “So, at what point do you switch over from superhero to supervillain, and where would you hide your secret base?”

Jokes aside, the interview was actually pretty enlightening. Musk did his best to explain why we need a reusable rocket if we ever expect humanity to escape the planet indefinitely.

“The way rockets work now is that they’re single-use. And you can imagine if we had an aircraft or a car that was only good for a single use, not many people would use it because it would be too expensive,” Musk said. A reusable rocket, like the one Musk is attempting to build through his private space company, SpaceX, would drastically minimize that cost, which is the key in getting a spacecraft capable of traveling to Mars and back.

Check out the two-part interview embedded below for a better explanation of reusable vertical takeoff rockets, why he invited others to use Tesla patents without fear of lawsuits, and what’s taking us so long to develop personal jetpacks. (Also, other trivial factoids like what Musk named his own Tesla Model S car).