SpaceX founder Elon Musk on Sunday made a surprise appearance at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, where he promoted space exploration as a cure for humanity’s woes. After being invited on stage by Jonathan Nolan, the co-creator of HBO series Westworld, Musk held an impromptu question-and-answer session with the audience. He said SpaceX is “building the first Mars, or interplanetary ship,” which is expected to be ready for short trips by the first half of next year, according to CNBC. He also explained that he sent a Falcon Heavy rocket carrying a Tesla into space last month to serve as an inspiration for mankind. “There are lots of problems that need to get solved. Lots of things that are miserable and kind of get you down… There needs to be things that inspire you, that make you glad to wake up in the morning and be part of humanity. That’s why we did this,” he said.
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