Elon Musk's Mars event today, where he outlined plans to turn the human race into a multi-planetary species, was a serious affair. Using the language of explorers, and playing up the future of civilization that hangs in the balance, Musk used grandiose terms to convince viewers around the world that we must leave Earth and realize our destiny. This message, it turns out, brings out all of the weirdos.
During the Q&A session after Musk's presentation, a number of not-so-serious crowd members used valuable mic time to either not ask a question, ask a dumb one, or try and thrust onto Musk a personal gift or request. This first came in the form of an attendee of the Burning Man festival, the annual Nevada desert art and music getaway, who was interested in knowing how Musk planned to dispose of all the human feces on Mars. (Turns out, there's a good amount of water on the planet for this purpose.)
Disposing of poop and launching Michael Cera into deep space
Another attendee wondered, on behalf of comedy site Funny or Die, whether Musk and SpaceX would mathematically determine the most expendable human being on Earth to send to Mars first, and whether that person would be actor Michael Cera. Musk expertly parlayed the question — which was actually a request to collaborate on a comedy bit — into a discussion about whether people who travel to Mars need to be willing to die.
Others used their one-on-one time with Musk for personal reasons. One enthusiastic Q&A participant was interested in giving Musk a comic book called The Future of Fusion, about the first man on Mars apparently. The man wondered whether he could toss it to the CEO onstage past what he referred to as "El Chapo's militia," or the security guards protecting Musk from the unhinged. One women wondered aloud if she could kiss Musk on "behalf of the ladies."
I like to imagine SpaceX planted these questioners to make the guy on stage talking about colonizing Mars look like the sane one in the room— Will Oremus (@WillOremus) September 27, 2016
When it was time to start wrapping up, Musk appeared tired of the onslaught of personal pleas and agendas, having told quite a few attendees to ask "questions, not essays." With time for one question left before having to hand the room over to another presentation, Musk instead decided to cut the Q&A short and run offstage as fast as he could. It appears unlikely he'll get that comic book or grant that kiss.