Week in Geek Podcast: Elon Musk’s race to Mars takes some unexpected turns

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SpaceX Falcon 9 launch
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket rises from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida. (SpaceX Photo)

Depending on how you see it, Elon Musk is either an innovative genius building the future of mankind or a mad scientist firing off more harebrained schemes than one person can keep track of. The SpaceX and Tesla founder was in the limelight twice this week, first by announcing he would launch his $100,000 Tesla Roadster into space.

Alan Boyle, GeekWire aerospace and science editor, gives us a rundown of what happened, and he says Musk is dead serious about the plan, apparently. The car will be fired off on the Falcon Heavy rocket, making it as far into the solar system as the orbit of Mars.

It’s just one of the things SpaceX is doing on as it builds towards Musk’s dream of building a city on Mars, including the company’s work on a global satellite internet network being developed in Redmond, Wash.

Also in the news this week: Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg, who said he was confident the first person to step on Mars would come in a Boeing rocket. That turned a lot of heads, especially Musk’s.

Astrophysics also popped up in an unexpected place this week: Sunday Night Football. A controversial play in Sunday’s game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Philadelphia Eagles lit up the internet, even ensnaring celebrity scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

The debate was if a pass from Seahawk quarterback Russel Wilson went forward, which would be illegal, or backward. The players were moving so fast the ball seemed to move backward, but confusingly it also seemed to move forward in relation to the marks on the field.

Tyson said the play was a “legit Galilean Transformation,” so it looked like it was going backward to the players even though someone standing still could see it went forward.

We also talk about takeaways from the $69 billion acquisition of insurer Aetna by pharmacy chain CVS. The bottom line: Tech is changing healthcare, for better or worse. See our Health Tech podcast for a deep dive on the topic.

On the Random Channel this week: A painful solar eclipse souvenier; a psychedelic playlist; models invade Silicon Valley; and Seattle says goodbye to a beloved sandwich shop.

Listen to the episode above and subscribe to the GeekWire Podcast in Apple Podcasts, Google Play or your favorite podcast app.

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