Free Research

I’m beginning to think that Elon Musk posts seemingly zany shit on Twitter in order to trick people into studying his problems for him for free:

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk attracted a bit of attention when he suggested that we could get there simply by nuking Mars’ poles, liberating the ice (both water and carbon dioxide ices) into the atmosphere. When asked about the prospects for the plan, a scientist said, “Whether it would really work, I don’t think anyone has worked up the physics in enough detail to say it would.” Now, a couple of planetary scientists have accepted the challenge of working up the physics, and they have bad news for Musk.

I imagine Musk sitting at home and saying to himself, “I wonder if we could nuke that water on Mars to release it into the atmosphere?” As he sits there pondering the question he realizes that he doesn’t have the physics or chemistry knowledge to figure out whether that plan is feasible. After mentally going over the physicists and chemists he does have in house he decides that they’re working on more valuable research at the moment. Finally he decides that he can just get other people to research the problem for free, logs onto Twitter, and posts that he wants to nuke the water on Mars. A few minutes later a team of curious physicists and chemists decide to run the numbers then, realizing that Musk’s idea isn’t feasible, rush to social media to say, “See? See? Mr. Billionaire is wrong!” After seeing the report Musk leans back in his chair, sips his scotch, and smirks at the thought that he has received the answer to his question without spending even a single dime.