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In 1953, a scientist said the title of the leader of a Martian government would be ‘Elon’

Wernher Von Braun says this in his book ‘Project Mars: A Technical Tale‘

Maroosha Muzaffar
Thursday 08 July 2021 21:49 BST
Related video: Elon Musk says ‘a bunch of people will probably die’ during Mars venture
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A reply to Elon Musk’s tweet about “destiny” has led to a strange kind of revelation.

On 30 December, the billionaire and SpaceX chief executive Musk quoted a popular line from the film Young Frankenstein on Twitter. He tweeted: “Destiny, destiny. No escaping that for me.”

Fellow Twitter user Toby Li, in reply to that, said: “Speaking about destiny, did you know that Von Braun’s 1953 book ‘Mars Project,’ referenced a person named Elon that would bring humans to Mars? Pretty nuts.”

Gizmodo reported that Project Mars: A Technical Tale – the book Mr Li was quoting – was authored by Wernher von Braun, a German-born aerospace engineer and space architect. The book, published in 1953, is a science fiction story in which the title of the leader of the Martian government would be “Elon”.

In October, Musk proclaimed humans would set foot on Mars in 2024. In April, he tweeted: “If we make life multi-planetary, there may come a day when some plants & animals die out on Earth but are still alive on Mars.”

Gizmodo reported that the novel wasn’t published at first, “but the appendix was the basis for a lecture Mr Von Braun gave at the first symposium on sustained space flight at Hayden’s planetarium in New York in 1951”. It said that soon after, the appendix was published in a special edition of the German spaceflight magazine Weltraumfahrt.

At the end of the same year, the book was published in Germany as Das Marsprojekt and in the US in 1953.

Meanwhile, Musk responded to Mr Li’s reply about “Project Mars” with “Are we sure this is real?” Soon after, Twitter user Pranay Pathole corrected Mr Li.

He said: “Yeah it’s real. This is the English transcript of the same book ... But ‘Elon’ referred to by Von Braun in the book isn’t the name of the person but rather the name of the position something like an elected meritocratic president.”

Business Insider reported that the paragraph in question says: “The Martian government was directed by 10 men, the leader of whom was elected by universal suffrage for five years and entitled ‘Elon.’ Two houses of Parliament enacted the laws to be administered by the Elon and his cabinet.”

Musk soon updated his Twitter profile, calling himself “imperator of Mars”.

Reports also pointed out that Mr Von Braun was a leading figure in the development of rocket technology in Nazi Germany and later, a pioneer of rocket space technology in the US.

Mr Von Braun had worked on Nazi Germany’s rocket development programme. Soon after the Second World War, however, he moved to the US with around 1,600 other German scientists, engineers, and technicians as part of a secret intelligence programme known as Operation Paperclip.

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