Elon Musk, guest of Stephen Colbert, The Late Show, Wednesday 9 September 2015.
00:00 Stephen Colbert: The driving force behind the Tesla electric car. Please welcome Elon Musk. [Applause.]
00:18 Stephen Colbert: I thought that Scarlett Johansson was glamorous. You're wearing a tuxedo jacket just as casual wear.
00:28 Elon Musk: Yeah.
00:30 Stephen Colbert: Now we were talking before. People have called you the real Tony Stark. OK, you've got your finger in so many different advanced technologies. As I said, SpaceX, Tesla, now you've got Solar City and the solar pack that people put in their houses. [Applause.] Are you sincerely trying to save the world.
00:54 Elon Musk: Well, I'm trying to do good things, yeah. I mean, saving the world is not, I mean ...
01:00 Stephen Colbert: But you're trying to do good things and you're a billionaire. I mean ... [Laughter.]
01:03 Elon Musk: Yeah, ...
01:04 Stephen Colbert: That seems a little bit like either superhero or supervillain. You have to choose one. [Laughter.]
01:11 Elon Musk: I try to do useful things. [Laughter.] I mean, yeah.
01:17 Stephen Colbert: So let's talk about the Tesla. I have a Tesla, OK, and I love it. I love it. [Applause.] You've got a new thing that you think people are going to want for their Tesla. Jim, can we show the footage of this. I think it's called ... . This think is ... the power arm. [Video of automatic charger arm connecting to a Tesla Model S.] That is an extremely ...
01:42 Elon Musk: It's our SnakeBot Charger.
01:44 Stephen Colbert: Yeah, it's a snake charger, that automatically plugs into you car when you get home.
01:49 Elon Musk: This looks a little wrong. You know. [Laughter.]
01:53 Stephen Colbert: That really looks like the thing that jacks into the back of Neo's head in The Matrix. [Laughter.]
02:00 Elon Musk: Right.
02:01 Stephen Colbert: Alright, is that thing going to attack me in my sleep.
02:04 Elon Musk: Ah, it's, well, I wouldn't, ... for the prototype at least, I would recommend not dropping anything when you're near it. [Laughter.]
02:17 Stephen Colbert: OK. Alright. Now another thing that you are talking about, is that you sincerely think that we should go to Mars, that men and women should go to Mars.
02:30 Elon Musk: Yeah.
02:31 Stephen Colbert: Why would we want to go to Mars? It's uninhabitable.
02:34 Elon Musk: It's very inhospitable. That's true.
02:36 Stephen Colbert: It is. Like you have to be in like domes and everything, and you're just breathing ...
02:41 Elon Musk: Initially, yes.
02:42 Stephen Colbert: Initially? Really? How long before we could turn Mars into some place where we could live?
02:47 Elon Musk: Well, it is a fixer upper of a planet. At first you're going to have to live in transparent domes, but eventually ...
02:55 Stephen Colbert: Yes, we're going to be huffing each others' stank.
02:58 Elon Musk: Yeah, but eventually you could transform Mars into an Earth-like planet.
03:03 Stephen Colbert: How would you do that?
03:05 Elon Musk: You'd warm it up. Just warm it up. If you warm it ...
03:09 Stephen Colbert: With a blanket, or with what? [Laughter.] How would you warm Mars up? You know it's a long way away from the sun.
03:15 Elon Musk: There's fast way and the slow way. [Pause.]
03:18 Stephen Colbert: OK, give me that fast way.
03:22 Elon Musk: "The fast way is drop thermonuclear weapons over the poles." [Laughs and nods.] [Laughter.]
03:28 Stephen Colbert: You're a supervillain! That's what a supervillain does. [Laughter.]
03:33 Elon Musk: Yeah.
03:34 Stephen Colbert: Superman doesn't say, 'We'll drop thermonuclear bombs. That's Lex Luthor, man. [Laughter.]
03:39 Elon Musk: [Laughs.] Yeah. The slow way would be to release greenhouse gases, like we're doing on Earth. We've gotten a lot of experience releasing greenhouse gases.
03:49 Stephen Colbert: We could export some of our greenhouse gases from Earth to Mars. Now you also have ways for us to get there because, as I said, you're one of the CEOs of SpaceX. And I'm incredibly excited ...
04:02 Elon Musk: The CEO.
04:03 Stephen Colbert: You're the CEO? [Laughter.] Well, I'm sorry.
04:09 Elon Musk: Yeah.
04:10 Stephen Colbert: OK, sorry. Struck a raw nerve. [Laughter.] Again, supervillain. [Laughter] Now, the thing that excites me about SpaceX is that you want to have rockets like the sci-fi rockets I was promised when I was a kid.
04:28 Elon Musk: Yeah, yeah, absolutely.
04:29 Stephen Colbert: And reuse them.
04:30 Elon Musk: Yeah, this is the key to getting life to be multiplanetary, is to have reusable rockets. If you throw the rockets away ever time it's crazy expensive to go to space. But if you can refly the rockets it could be comparable to air flight in its costs.
04:48 Stephen Colbert: And you've got a rocket called, ... is it called the Falcon?
04:52 Elon Musk: Yeah.
04:53 Stephen Colbert: OK, the Falcon rocket, and your goal is to try to land the Falcon rocket on a barge at sea, so you can reuse ...
04:59 Elon Musk: On a ship, technically.
05:00 Stephen Colbert: A ship? A ship?
05:02 Elon Musk: It has engines.
05:05 Stephen Colbert: Everything I say seems to be insulting you this evening. [Laughter.]
05:07 Elon Musk: Well, if it's got engines, it's a ship.
05:12 Stephen Colbert: OK, good. OK. And is anybody driving this ship?
05:16 Elon Musk: No, is' a drone ship.
05:17 Stephen Colbert: OK, we've a footage of -- this is the last attempt, I think, to land to the rocket, after it successfully delivered a payload. [Video of SpaceX CRS-6 first stage landing attempt.] Here it goes. And. Come on, baby. Come on, you can do it.
05:34 Elon Musk: Yeah, it broke a leg on landing. So, ... it tipped over.
05:37 Stephen Colbert: It, ah, it broke more than that. [Groans.]
05:39 Elon Musk: Yeah.
05:40 Stephen Colbert: Oh. How heartbreaking is that to see that, when you get that close.
05:44 Elon Musk: It's definitely, ah, definitely heartbreaking.
05:47 Stephen Colbert: Yeah. You don't seem heartbroken. [Laughter.]
05:50 Elon Musk: Ah. [Laughs.] Well, that happened several months ago, so I think, but [laughter] the ...
05:56 Stephen Colbert: Shake it off. You just shake it off.
05:59 Elon Musk: I think we're actually feeling sad but happy at the same time for that because if we could reduce the landing velocity we could get it land and stay upright and not explode.
06:12 Stephen Colbert: Uh-huh. That is one of the goals of rockets, is not to explode. [Laughter.]
06:17 Elon Musk: Yes.
06:18 Stephen Colbert: How long before that's going to be safe enough that my wife would be OK with me getting on a rocket and going someplace? [Laughter.]
06:26 Elon Musk: Probably, well, I'm not sure if, I don't know your wife, but ...
06:31 Stephen Colbert: She's right out there. [Points.]
06:34 Elon Musk: But I think in terms of when it will be safe enough for people, it's probably about two to three years.
06:40 Stephen Colbert: You're kidding! That's nothing. [Applause.] Seriously. So two to three years from now, could be the beginning of 'Here's George Jetson, and his Steve Colbert'?
06:57 Elon Musk: Well, in approximately two years we'll be transporting NASA astronauts to the Space Station.
07:03 Stephen Colbert: What's the next thing that you want to do that is a hopeful future? Because one of the thing that I like about you is that your vision of the future is very hopeful, that is, it is fixable. That the world, ... there's so much despair, there's people throwing up their hands at problems of the world that can't be solved. You think that we can put our minds to it and actually make the world a better place. What do you think we need more than anything else?
07:32 Elon Musk: Yeah, absolutely. Well, I think the most important think we need to solve this century is sustainable energy. [Applause.]
07:44 Stephen Colbert: Well, you seem like the guy to do it. Thank you so much for being here and thank you for trying to make the future a better place.
07:51 Elon Musk: Thank you.
07:52 Stephen Colbert: Elon Musk, it's always ...