How to watch Elon Musk's Q&A at SXSW

Courtesy of Matt Lief Anderson  HBO

Eccentric billionaire and SpaceX founder Elon Musk broke the news during his appearance at the South By Southwest festival this past weekend (he appears to be a big fan of Westworld), claiming that the SpaceX Mars rocket is making steady progress, and will very likely be making short test flights starting next year.

Relaxing in a lined brown bomber jacket, Musk held forth on some of his favorite topics, from colonizing Mars to digging tunnels under Los Angeles to lay the infrastructure for high-speed public transportation system that would once-and-for-all solve the commuter nightmare that is the Interstate 405.

Musk was asked, why?

Yesterday, SpaceX has published on its official YouTube channel a new video which is dramatically reviewing the history of the Falcon Heavy launch, the most powerful rocket that has ever been launched from Earth, at the moment. In a talk at SXSW, Elon Musk said he expected the spacecraft's first "short up-and-down flights" by the first half of 2019.

That timeline is surprisingly aggressive, and Musk admits that "historically people have told me my timelines have been optimistic". It scares the hell out of me.

"No one predicted that rate of improvement", Musk said.

"Everyone votes on every issue and that's how it goes". Musk and Nolan closed out the session with a live rendition of "My Little Buttercup" from John Landis' "The Three Amigos", with guitar accompaniment by a cowboy-hatted Kimbal Musk.

Musk cited Google's AlphaGo, a software powered by AI that can play the ancient Chinese board game Go, as evidence of the rise of the machine. "Their batting average is quite weak".

"It needs a body that has oversight".

He also discussed his desire to create excitement around space exploration again within the public consciousness and revealed that before launching SpaceX, his initial plan was to find a way to gain more funding for NASA. Having settlements on Mars could "shorten the length of the Dark Ages" to come, he said.

"For the early people that go to Mars, it will be far more unsafe", he said.

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