Chris Combs, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at The University of Texas in San Antonio, recently drew a connection between Musk and Christopher Columbus on Columbus Day, aka Peoples’ Day.
“Elon Musk revolutionized space flight about as much as Christopher Columbus discovered America,” Combs tweeted on Monday.
Musk and Columbus being compared is an offensive mix of ideas that will undoubtedly infuriate both men’s ardent supporters. So naturally, the tweet has caused a lot of discussions.
“Did this tweet yield the expected clout points?” replied one SpaceX aerospace engineer, Sid Chambers.
Combs’ assertion was met with a sharp intake of breath by Eric Berger, the senior space editor at Ars Technica, and Musk’s biography.
“Hot take from an endowed professor of engineering at the University of Texas, San Antonio,” Berger tweeted.
“Elon is a controversial figure, a lightning rod, especially on Twitter,” he continued. “But saying SpaceX has not revolutionized spaceflight is silly. The whole industry is scrambling to catch up. Elon created SpaceX. He established the disruptive DNA of the company. He still runs it today.”
It would be wrong to understate SpaceX’s impact on the space sector. The main argument, though, centers on whether Musk or his superb engineering staff should be given credit for those advances.
However, there is a worthwhile discussion to have that goes beyond ridiculous tweets if Musk’s vision is as crucial to SpaceX’s success as his supporters believe. Regardless, it’s amusing to watch such disagreements play out.