After watching “Interstellar” several times, I really want to buy Tesla’s stock.

I have always hesitated to praise Tesla, because its unique temperament is parallel to the greatest engineering projects in human history. When people hear about it, they either call you stupid, accuse you of bragging, or, in the best of cases, marvel that you actually believe the stories spun by a master con artist.

China has long held the top position in the global production and sales of electric cars. The concept of electric vehicles was thoroughly explored and understood by the diligent and brave people long ago. Even Tesla is simply a collection of batteries and a motor dressed in a suit.

It is difficult to reverse this impression, especially when the public sees Tesla’s high prices coupled with shabby interiors and lower assembly quality.

Next, let’s reorganize the fragments of this story that you may have heard before.

One, Clear Goal.

In the last twenty years, Elon Musk’s life purpose has become increasingly clear: to enable human beings to survive on other planets by making life multiplanetary.

Note that it’s immigration to other planets, rather than just dabbling like we did with the moon.

Why is that?

From a human perspective, similar to the assumption of crop extinction in “Interstellar,” it is best to be prepared in advance to escape to other planets when facing destruction (such as unexpected events like asteroids or pandemics).

About 17 or 18 years ago, Musk heard that it would cost at least $500 billion to send astronauts to Mars. Obviously, nobody had that kind of money, except for the US government.

Musk has decided to spend his own money to send a few plants to Mars and take some photos. He hopes to reignite Americans’ passion for manned space exploration, as was done during the moon landing in the 1960s, by bringing life to Mars and using it as a means of revitalizing the nation’s illustrious manned space program.

Musk went to Russia three times in an attempt to spend tens of millions of dollars to buy Russian intercontinental missiles as a transport for these plants. Various difficult processes made him realize that the cost of landing on Mars and launching rockets was not due to whether countries were willing to spend money, but because the space technology at that time was too outdated and too expensive.

Therefore, in 2002 Musk created SpaceX to develop his own rocket technology. At that time, Tesla had not yet been established.

After experiencing 17 years of various failures and near bankruptcies, today SpaceX has surpassed its peers in terms of payload capacity and cost.

  1. Interstellar Spaceflight.

The average person would have achieved great success by coming this far, but Musk’s goal was only halfway completed: achieving the repetitive use of rockets and the realization of high thrust methods.

The larger thrust rocket in development, BFR, is now called Super Heavy and will be used to carry up to 100 passengers in the Starship. According to Musk, it is not cost-effective to only carry a few astronauts.

I can tell that Elon Musk’s most cherished company is SpaceX, not Tesla. While Tesla is ambitious, it cannot compare to the dream of space. Even when he was in dire need of money, Musk did not allow SpaceX to go public. This is because he did not want SpaceX to be hijacked by the stock market, becoming obsessed with launching commercial satellites to make money.

While rockets from various countries still cling to outdated engines from decades ago, SpaceX has already begun designing a new generation of Draco engines to replace the highly successful Merlin engines.

The blueprint for Musk’s conquest of Mars is finally complete with Super Heavy+Starship+Raptor Engine.

(Spacecraft, Photo: SpaceX)

However, copying a thousand sets of money is not enough, and the technology is not yet mature. What to do? Let’s practice on earth first.

Since we can already go to Mars, let’s organize a 7-day lunar tourism group and make some money while we’re at it.

What’s even more fantastic is that this spacecraft can take off from New York and land in Shanghai, and it will only take half an hour for the journey.

According to calculations, the cost of fuel, launch, and other expenses should be less than $2 million, and with 100 passengers paying $20,000 each, it’s much cheaper than a private jet. Musk believes that the cost will be even cheaper than first-class airfare in the future.

Elon Musk has promised us that we should be able to see moon trips and cross-ocean spaceships within the next 10 years because he wants to see the beginning of Mars colonization within his lifetime.

Three, transforming Mars.

Many people say they believe in landing on Mars, but if you ask me whether I believe in a million people living there, I have to say I don’t. This is definitely the most controversial point.

Interestingly, many details have been carefully planned on how humans can continue to survive and propagate on Mars. For example, Mars is full of carbon dioxide, which is suitable for plant growth, and plants can produce oxygen.

The oxygen on Earth is said to be produced by algae and various plants. It may not be impossible to replicate this on Mars. In fact, there is much evidence to suggest that there was once life on Mars.


(Renovating Mars, Photo: SpaceX)

There is sufficient ice at the two poles of Mars that can even form oceans when melted. The combination of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen can create a variety of things, such as methane, which can be used as rocket fuel. Musk said that this is why the SpaceX BFR chooses methane as its rocket fuel, as it needs to return to Earth. This ‘big liar’ is truly seamless in his work.

Some people say that the death rate among interstellar immigrants must be quite high, and it is quite obvious.

Among the early immigrants from Europe to the Americas, mortality rates were also extremely high. For example, half of the passengers on the Mayflower died within a year. Early immigrants to Australia were also mostly from the lower classes and included prisoners.

At that time, people definitely wouldn’t have imagined what the Americas and Australia would look like today. And 150 years ago, people in Qing Dynasty China also couldn’t have imagined that we would have airplanes and computers now.

On Mars, the source of energy for humans is evidently a top priority. On Earth, almost all human energy comes from the sun (excluding nuclear and geothermal energy).

Billions of years ago, organisms absorbed solar energy, which transformed into coal and oil we have today. The food we have today is also a direct or indirect source of solar energy, consumed by animals or plants that we eat. In theory, as long as there is sun and water, living organisms can survive.

On Mars, there are no fossil fuels available for us to use. Solar power generation is the most obvious choice.

Therefore, Tesla and its solar subsidiary SolarCity have been linked together.

  1. Zero Emission

Satellite Internet (Starlink), hyperloop/boring transportation, and electric cars (Tesla) have already been planned for Mars, but these experiments will first have to be done on Earth.

The blueprint that Tesla has drawn for us is probably like this: in the next 20 to 30 years, human energy will primarily come from renewable energy sources.

Amazon’s Bezos also promised that Amazon will achieve zero carbon emissions by 2040. He said, “If Amazon, which ships 10 billion items annually, can do it, any company can.”

In other words, no more burning coal or oil for electricity, nor driving internal combustion engine cars. Whether you believe it or not, at least there will be no more smog, and the air will be wonderful.

To achieve this, electric cars must achieve the same level of power and price as gasoline cars.

Obviously, from the perspective of material cost, in cases where the production volume is sufficient, electric vehicles are certainly cheaper. The high torque characteristic of electric vehicles can already easily surpass internal combustion engine vehicles in terms of power.

The weaknesses of electric cars now only lie in their battery range and charging station network. Therefore, Tesla has invested all its cutting-edge technologies into these areas. This is the significant difference between Tesla and other electric vehicles, as only Tesla carries the heavy and grand mission on its shoulders.

Many traditional car companies that produce fuel-driven vehicles either immerse themselves in earning government subsidies for electric cars or devote their efforts to remodeling electric cars on fuel-driven car platforms.

Indeed, consumers do not understand, so what relationship do they have with it?

  1. Where is Tesla’s technological advantage?

The four words “reaching the pinnacle” first come to mind when evaluating Tesla’s pursuit in car design.

Tesla’s current drive unit has a design life of 1.6 million kilometers and requires no maintenance.

Originally, electric vehicles already had an advantage in terms of power, but Musk was still not satisfied. Therefore, we can see today that Tesla’s drag coefficient is the lowest among all mass-produced cars, even to the extent that traditional car manufacturers cannot understand.

The Cybertruck pickup truck, which was released a few days ago, was widely mocked for its bizarre appearance. The reason is also simple: the wind resistance of this large pickup truck is even lower than that of most petrol-powered cars.

Tesla’s battery manufacturing and battery management technology are both very advanced, but this is not the focus of this article, so it will not be elaborated on.

The massive revolution caused by Tesla is the so-called “software-defined car,” a widely-discussed topic that I won’t delve into here. Both OTA (over-the-air) updates and assisted driving are the main reasons why Tesla owners have such an excellent reputation.

Tesla’s upcoming third-generation hardware will feature an exclusive design for fully autonomous driving chips, with video processing speeds surpassing 2,000 frames per second, and will truly be capable of handling the real-time status of 360-degree surveillance from eight cameras and 12 ultrasonic sensors. This has given Musk the confidence to reject expensive LIDAR technology.

Real-time tracking of multiple targets for automatic driving, Photo: Tesla.

It is worth emphasizing that Tesla and SpaceX, which originate from Silicon Valley, are also at the forefront of software technology. Traditional car manufacturers do not have this DNA at all, so catching up is not something that can be accomplished in just one or two years.

Tesla’s motor is also an important core component. After switching from the performance-oriented induction motor to the balance-oriented permanent magnet motor, Tesla has completed a plan similar to SpaceX: a motor that is universal for all models, with dual motors or triple motors for greater power when needed.

The birth of this motor took more than a decade to accumulate. Tesla used advanced software simulation and computer clusters to design this motor, and the final result is its frighteningly high energy efficiency of 97%.

Despite this, Tesla is still not satisfied with the pursuit of excellence. Electric vehicles suffer a major loss from transformation and frequency conversion: DC-AC from batteries to motors, AC-DC from charging, and DC-DC from internal electrical appliances. In the high-voltage part, the use of silicon-based IGBT is a common solution.

In pursuit of a mere 5% increase in driving range, Tesla was willing to pay several times the cost and become the first in the industry to fully adopt silicon carbide (SiC) as a substitute for IGBT. Among the most popular compound semiconductors, gallium nitride (GaN) is suitable for low-power, high-frequency applications such as computers and communications, while silicon carbide is suitable for high-power applications. Although the energy-saving effect is significant, it has not been widely used due to cost issues.

Silicon carbide is a gas-phase crystal, with production efficiency and uniformity far lower than that of silicon wafers. Its ultra-high hardness and brittleness also result in significant cutting losses, making it a significant problem. Therefore, we see various advanced technologies such as waterjet and laser cold cracking being constantly used and attempted.

Due to the Tesla effect, the popularization of silicon carbide as a power device on earth may be accelerated by twice. This not only has a huge and positive driving effect on the electric car industry, but also on energy-saving in other industries.

Tesla has no shortcomings in any of the key areas of the so-called “three electric” which includes batteries, electric motors, computer hardware and software, and even transmission. In addition to charging stations, Tesla leads its competitors by 1 to N years in each of these areas

Sixth, Exciting.

Tesla’s only lack is money, if there is not enough money to spend, it can only expand production capacity step by step.

Writing this article is just my small attempt to popularize this amazing dream. Shanghai’s bold decision to welcome Tesla and build its third Gigafactory, despite the saturated automotive market, is truly visionary.

Imagine if human beings could really turn the red planet Mars into another habitable blue planet in the future, it would be even more science fiction than a movie: although it is not as miraculous as traveling through a wormhole like in “Interstellar”, it would be more magnificent and spectacular.

Just like the great voyages that changed the world 500 years ago, we are fortunate to live in our current time, where we have the opportunity to witness humanity once again embarking on a magnificent journey into the vast expanse of the stars.


“Colonizing Mars, Photo: SpaceX”