TIME magazine selected Elon Musk as its 2021 Person of the Year.
Musk, who also became the world’s richest man (and the richest man in modern history) in 2021, is the CEO of electric car company Tesla and founder of rocket company SpaceX. Tesla’s share price uptick helped Elon to the podium pinnacle in the mid-year, and the billionaire’s space company launched the first-ever mission to Earth’s orbit with a crew of only tourists and no professional astronauts.
Beyond being a leading player in the “billionaire space race,” Musk’s SpaceX was chosen by NASA in April to build the next-generation lunar lander, beating out Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin for a $3 billion contract. Musk also earlier announced this year that his company Tesla was developing an AI-powered humanoid robot, the Tesla Bot, to be released next year, dubbed the “Tesla Bot.”
CEO Edward Felsenthal, TIME’s editor-in-chief, explained that Musk was chosen because of his ‘influence’. In an editor’s letter, Felsenthal mentioned that he chose Musk because the billionaire had a “massive shift” on our society.
“Person of the Year is a marker of influence, and few individuals have had more influence than Musk on life on Earth, and potentially life off Earth too. In 2021, Musk emerged not just as the world’s richest person but also as perhaps the richest example of a massive shift in our society,” TIME editor-in-chief and CEO Edward Felsenthal wrote.