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Elon Musk

(1971 - )

Elon Musk is the founder and CEO of SpaceX, a company that builds space shuttles for private use and for NASA. He is also one of the founders of PayPal and Tesla Motors.

Musk is an American but was born and raised in Pretoria, South Africa. He has received degrees in business and physics from the Wharton School and the University of Pennsylvania. His parents are of Dutch, English and Jewish descent.

In his career, Musk has worked at Paypal, Tesla Motors, and SolarCity. But his most notable work as been at SpaceX, doing what he believes is securing the future of the human race. ""An asteroid or a super volcano could destroy us, and we face risks the dinosaurs never saw: An engineered virus, inadvertent creation of a micro black hole, catastrophic global warming or some as-yet-unknown technology could spell the end of us. Humankind evolved over millions of years, but in the last sixty years atomic weaponry created the potential to extinguish ourselves. Sooner or later, we must expand life beyond this green and blue ball—or go extinct."

He has been recognized for his achivements many times, most notably as one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people, one of "America's 20 Most Powerful CEOs 40 And Under" listed by Forbes, and FAI Gold Space Medal for being the first person to develop a private rocket capable of reaching orbit.

He lives in Bel Air, California.

Sources: Esquire: "The 75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century."
Time Magazine: "The 2010 Time 100."
SpaceX: "Elon Musk: Official Bio."
The New Yorker: "Volume 85, Issues 23-30."
Photo: Wikimedia Commons