Op-ed | How Elon Musk’s CO2 XPRIZE can fight climate change and advance space exploration
Want to win Elon Musk's $100 million XPRIZE for carbon removal? Think small and think Mars.
Elon Musk and XPRIZE recently announced a $100 million prize purse for economically scalable ideas to capture and sequester carbon dioxide (CO2). As of Earth Day 2021, registration for XPRIZE Carbon Removal now open. The hope is to inspire a global industry that will “collectively achieve” gigaton-scale removal of CO2 from Earth’s atmosphere. We urgently need these solutions, as most Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scenarios require CO2 removal to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
As badly as we need this Earth-saving industry, it’s also interesting to consider its benefits for another industry: space exploration. Specifically, for contestants seeking an edge, I predict Musk will acquire an XPRIZE solution that:
-Converts captured CO2 into useful products.
-Fits inside an 8-meter-diameter compartment.
An integrated theory of Elon Musk
Elon Musk wants to go to Mars. This is common knowledge. But “going to Mars” is more than rockets. All of his projects are part of the Mars plan. Earth is only his R&D lab. His SolarCity (solar panels) and the Gigafactory (batteries) have obvious utility on Mars. Tesla (self-driving electric vehicles) offers transportation in a place with no gasoline — and potentially no humans, should Musk want to send drones to lay out the red carpet ahead of a crewed mission. Starlink (satellites) enables communication not only with Earth, but between points on Mars. Even the Boring Company (tunneling machines) has its place: Solar radiation makes the Martian surface nigh unlivable, so interconnected subterranean living quarters may be necessary. As for the not-flamethrower? We don’t know what Perseverance will find. You can’t be too safe.#globalwarming #climatechange #carboncompensation #bluesky #climateemergency #climatecrisis #blueskye
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