The next James Bond film is called Spectre; if the villainous mastermind driving that Jaguar C-X75 isn't named Elon Musk, we'll want to know why not. The real-life Musk isn't evil so far as we can tell, but we gotta say he's just as ambitious as Ernst Blofeld ever was. While opening a SpaceX office in Seattle, the face of Tesla said that the engineers and software programmers in the Pacific Northwest outpost will be working on "a global communications system that would be larger than anything that has been talked about to date" on top of their Falcon rocket and Dragon capsule duties.

Musk's idea is that hundreds of satellites in low-Earth orbit would get information around the world much faster, and be provide better Internet service for "people in sparsely populated areas." Once the folks in the terrestrial hinterlands are taken care of, Musk envisions the network providing the foundation for a satellite network that would provide Earth-to-Mars communications to the Mars-based colony that the SpaceX CEO expects will wear company branding.

The idea isn't new - one of Musk's peers is working on the same concept, backed by Qualcomm and the Virgin Group. But Musk says that OneWeb, the competitor, has a different concept for the underlying architecture and that his satellites would be "an order of magnitude more sophisticated." If you're trying to figure out what the area code to Mars is, you're way ahead of things: Musk says the terrestrial satellite system won't be ready for at least five years. And since the average distance to Mars is 140 million miles, it'll probably be a few years after that before you can shoot a text to the Spirit and Opportunity rovers.

Related Video:

TRANSLOGIC 76: Elon Musk Interview, SpaceX


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