“Beam Me Up, Elon!” Musk’s Quest For Ultimate Spaceship Name

Elon Musk gazing into the distance

Elon Musk once again set on finding the ultimate spaceship name.

Like the ships of old that took man across the waves and around the globe, the spaceships of tomorrow set to take man across the Solar System are bound to have resonant names that carry weight and significance.

One name found within Douglas Addams’s seminal sci-fi-comedy work “The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy” may become the first Earth words that Martians would read if billionaire Elon Musk’s plans of sending a manned spaceship to Mars succeed. And, of course, if Martians existed.

During the International Astronautical Congress in Mexico, Musk declared that his favorite candidate is “Heart of Gold”, the starship from Addam’s novel. Ever the sci-fi fan, Musk declared that he is most keen on this name, because of how the ship worked in the book: with the Infinite Improbability Drive.

While we may be hundreds of years away from warp speed, improbability may be the rocket fuel of tomorrow, according to Musk who jokingly said:

“I think our ship is also extremely improbable.”

The Ultimate Spaceship Name To Be Given To The Vehicle Of Mars’ Colonists

Still, that will not stop him from sending Heart of Gold into space with the purpose of bringing the first Earth colonists on the red planet by the year 2025. Musk doesn’t want to just send explorers to leave footprints on Martian soil, but to erect a city that can host around 1 million (human) souls.

As outlandish as Musk’s plan may seem, the billionaire genius may be closer than anyone of bringing science fiction to life in the first part of this century. It’s only fitting that the man himself is a sci-fi fan. His company, SpaceX, has created and successfully launched a series of rockets named Falcon, a reference to the well-known starship Millennium Falcon, of Star Wars fame.

On a different but equally humorously referential note, Musk has named the SpaceX transporter ship Dragon, a reference to the hippie anthem of 1963, “Puff, the Magic Dragon” by folk group Peter, Paul and Mary. The name was chosen to mock the critics that considered the SpaceX projects unrealistic.

Mythology And History Are Often Favorites When Choosing Spaceship Names

Musk may be one of the first with a passion for giving his spaceships sci-fi and pop-culture related names. NASA, for example, prefers to rely on mythology or history when naming its ships: Apollo, Saturn, Atlantis, Columbia etc. The sole exception is their shuttle prototype Enterprise, named after the iconic vessel of numerous crews of the Star Trek universe.

Still, should his project of sending the first space settlers to Mars succeed, Elon Musk would be considered a bigger visionary than all the sci-fi authors that he looks up to.

Do you think Elon Musk will choose wisely when deciding on the ultimate spaceship name?

Image source: Flickr

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