Billionaire Bill Gates questioned Elon Musk’s priorities saying he would rather pay for vaccines than travel to Mars, which he does not think is a good use of money.
“It’s actually quite expensive to go to Mars. You can buy measles vaccines and save lives for $1,000 (£814) per life saved,” he told the BBC in an interview scheduled to be broadcast on Friday evening.
“And so [that] just kind of grounds you, as in – don’t go to Mars.”
Fellow entrepreneur Elon Musk has said he wants to colonize Mars, while Jeff Bezos has also joined the “space race”.
SpaceX, the rocket company co-founded by Musk in 2002, has made it an ultimate goal to send crewed flights to Mars and eventually colonize the Red Planet.
Musk stated recently that a manned mission to Mars could happen as early as 2029 when asked on Twitter.
A twitter user posted a picture comparing an image from the Moon landing, along with 1969, the year the historic event took place, and an image depicting a potential Mars landing with the text “20_ _?” The user wrote “What’s your guess?” and tagged Musk in the tweet.
Responding to the question, Musk replied simply “2029.”
Bezos, the founder of Amazon, heads the aerospace company Blue Origin and made a short journey to space in 2021, while British tycoon Richard Branson has also reached the edge of space on his Virgin Galactic rocket plane.
Bill Gates on whether Elon Musk is a philanthropist
The Microsoft co-founder was asked if he thought Musk would qualify as a philanthropist. Gates responded by saying he doesn’t think Musk is one currently but that this may change in the future.
“Things like Tesla are having a positive impact, even without being a form of philanthropy,” Gates said. “I think someday he will join the rank of philanthropists using his ingenuity,” he added.
CNBC notes that Gates and Musk have frequently feuded over the years. In April 2022, Musk said he asked Gates if he was short-selling Tesla — in other words, betting that the price of the electric carmaker’s stock would fall.
When Gates revealed in 2020 that he bought himself an all-electric Porsche Taycan, a Twitter user asked: “I wonder why Bill Gates decided to go with the Taycan instead of a Tesla.”
Musk responded in a tweet: “My conversations with Gates have been underwhelming tbh [to be honest].”
Musk has also previously speculated on the possibility of Gates shorting his company’s stock. Asked about those comments and whether he was short Tesla, Gates told CNBC last year: “I don’t talk about my investments but I think he should be very proud of what he’s done.”