"It's actually quite expensive to go to Mars," Bill Gates said.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has said that he is not interested in travelling to Mars and would rather spend his money helping people on Earth and paying for vaccines.
In an interview with the BBC, the 67-year-old was directly asked about SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and philanthropy. "Would you encourage him (Elon Musk) to join your club of mega-philanthropists?" the interviewer asked, specifically referencing to Mr Gates and Warren Buffet - two co-creators of The Giving Pledge - a promise hundreds of the world's richest people made to donate the majority of their earning to charity.
"I think someday he'll (Mr Musk) be a great philanthropist," Mr Gates responded, noting that "things like Tesla are having a positive impact even without being a form of philanthropy". He also went on to say that "other than going to Mars a few times, which might cost a little bit," he doesn't believe that the SpaceX CEO will spend most of his fortune on himself.
"So yeah, someday I think he will join the rank of philanthropists," he told the outlet.
Further, when asked specifically if he thought going to Mars would be "a good use of money," the Microsoft co-founder said, "not in my view". "It's actually quite expensive to go to Mars. You can buy measles vaccines and save lives for $1,000 per life save," Mr Gates said, adding, "And so (that) just kind of grounds you, as in - don't go to Mars."
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According to the BBC, while Mr Gates is focused on fighting climate change and eradicating malnutrition and diseases such as polio and malaria, Mr Musk's rocket company has made it an ultimate goal to send crewed flights to Mars and eventually colonise the Red Planet.
The two billionaires have a history of not seeing eye-to-eye. Last year, Mr Musk claimed that he turned down teaming up with Mr Gates on a philanthropic project after asking the Microsoft co-founder if he was short-selling Tesla, meaning betting that the price of the electric carmaker's stock. "I heard from multiple people at TED that Gates still had half a billion short against Tesla, which is why I asked him, so it's not exactly top secret," Mr Musk wrote on Twitter.
When asked about the comments and whether he was short Tesla, Mr Gates told CNBC, "I don't talk about my investments but I think he should be very proud of what he's done."
In another instance, when Mr Gates revealed in 2020 that he bought himself an all-electric Porsche Taycan, a Twitter user asked, "I wonder why Bill Gates decided to go with the Taycan instead of Tesla." To this, Mr Musk responded, "My conversations with Gates have been underwhelming tbh (To Be Honest)".