Elon Musk has succeeded in creating cheap reusable space launch vehicles. That is easy to say, but eleven major countries of the world have tried for decades to do that and failed. All previous attempts were expensive one-time-use vehicles, that crashed in a ball of flame back to Earth after putting a small percentage of the launch vehicle into space. Since 1944 they all wanted a cheaper multiuse launch system, but Elon Musk’s company SpaceX is, all these years later, still the only one that can do it. “First-stage reuse. As of 6 August 2018, SpaceX had recovered 21 first-stage boosters from previous missions, of which six were recovered twice, yielding a total 27 landings.” This is still an infant technology and it will get better. NASA wrote that Musk can create launch vehicles at ten percent of the price they can.
The complete up-to-present list of Probaway Person of the Year:
- 2019 – Elon Musk for creating a reusable rocket system that will give much cheaper access to space which opens new frontiers.
- 2018 – Astronomers for discovering the signatures of the heavy elements like gold in the collision of neutron stars.
- 2017 – Albert Einstein for predicting black holes, their collisions creating gravity waves, and the laser for observing the gravity waves.
- 2016 – Xi Jinping for taking China from a backward economy to the most powerful one on Earth.
- 2015 – Peter Higgs and Alan Guth created theories that led to proofs this year of mass and gravity sources.
- 2014 – Jennifer Doudna created a method for insertion of designed DNA precisely into existing DNA.
- 2013 – Plague Inc. is a computer game that explores the problems of creating a disease that will kill every last human being on Earth.
- 2012 – Zebrafish research-technique advances made it possible to observe drug interactions within living animals.
- 2011 – Craig Venter laid the groundwork for creating entirely new forms of life (greater than species) out of computer-generated DNA sequences.
- 2010 – Nadya Suleman (Octomom) and the society that created this travesty of good sense will be remembered into the distant future by many hungry people.
- 2009 – Jimmy Wales for Wikipedia, which will be still be used after our current computer operating systems are surpassed and forgotten.
- 2008 – Cesar Millan (the dog whisperer) because he shows people how to relate to dogs and people much better than anyone else. His videos and techniques will be remembered and used as long as there are people and dogs.
These may seem like strange choices but they are people involved in potentially long-term-memorable events which had a major tipping point the year before their selection as Probaway Person of the Year.