From buying and crashing a F1 car to giving his baby an unpronounceable name – He may be an extraordinary genius but Elon Musk is also the world’s biggest eccentric: And now he wants to build a colony in Mars

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, often makes headlines for his eccentric antics. Photo: Austin American-Statesman/TNS

Backed by enormous amounts of wealth, the world’s super-rich have been known to do (and buy) some outlandish things from time to time.
From splashing out on over-the-top parties (like spending millions to have celebrities like Michael Jackson attend and perform) to purchasing extravagant gifts for loved ones (like that time Angelina Jolie bought Brad Pitt an actual waterfall and the property surrounding it), it seems the more money in the bank, the more outrageous the lives of the world’s richest become.

Take Elon Musk, for example. The tech billionaire is famous for engaging in certain endeavours many would consider “out there”.

Unseated by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos as the world’s richest man, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO has done quite a few eccentric things over the years – here are some of his more bizarre antics.

He bought himself the fastest car in the world
Before being named the wealthiest man on the planet (and before the position was quickly usurped by Jeff Bezos), Musk used a good chunk of his new-found wealth (over US$800,000) to buy a McLaren F1.

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Only 106 units of the supercar were made, and about a year after Musk bought his, he crashed it.

He bought – and sold – 20,000 flame-throwers
In 2018, through his venture The Boring Company – which currently works to construct transport tunnels – Musk sold 20,000 machine gun lookalikes that shoot fire instead of ammunition.

Quickly selling out all flame-spewing devices for US$500 each, The Boring Company brought in a cool US$10 million.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off from Pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on May 30, 2020. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has grand plans for space exploration via his company. Photo: AP

He plans to build a human colony on Mars
Perhaps more eccentric than anything Musk has already done are his future plans. Through his company SpaceX, Musk nurtures the grand ambition of establishing a sustainable base on Mars where a population of humans could live.

In fact, so passionate about this project is the Tesla CEO that he reportedly intends to dedicate half of his multiple billions to the cause.

Elon Musk chose to name his baby X Æ A-12, or X for short. Photo: @elonmusk/Twitter

He gave his baby an unpronounceable name
When Musk and his girlfriend – singer and performer Grimes – had their first child together, the fascinating couple did not settle for any common old name.

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The unconventional parents decided to opt for something unforgettable, albeit less pronounceable. The name chosen, X Æ A-12, or X for short, went on to make headlines – and inspire memes – across the globe.

His pledge to donate a million dollars to top carbon capture tech inventors
Soon after news of his short-lived reign as the world’s richest individual was revealed, Musk said he would donate US$100 million as a prize for the most efficient carbon capture technology.

“This is not a theoretical competition. We want teams that will build real systems that can make a measurable impact and scale to a gigaton level,” Musk said. “Whatever it takes. Time is of the essence.”

The news was announced via Twitter in late January 2021, and further details are yet to be released.

Note: This story was originally published on SCMP and has been republished on this website.

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