Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, recently proposed rescuing the remaining boys trapped in a cave in Thailand with a “tiny, kid-size submarine” built from SpaceX rocket parts.
Musk explained on Twitter that the metallic escape pod will use the liquid oxygen transfer tube of SpaceX’s Falcon rocket as a hull and it would be light enough to be carried by two divers and narrow enough to slip through small gaps. The device, Musk confirmed, was designed with input from cave experts in Thailand. Following a suggestion from a Twitter follower, Musk also had his team install padded wall sockets for a hand radio and phone/music player in the pod because “music make things better,” he said. It “calms the mind.”
Rescue efforts are underway at the cave site in northern Thailand where 12 boys, all members of a youth soccer team, went missing with their coach more than two weeks ago. Thai navy seals leading the operation confirmed that eight boys have been rescued so far.
Musk’s mini-sub was tested in a Los Angeles pool on Sunday, July 8, and has since been shipped off to Thailand.
Musk’s involvement in the Thai rescue operation could bode well for Tesla’s good reputation among consumers and investors alike. The company ranked third overall in the Harris Poll’s 2018 Reputation Quotient survey and was #1 for its vision and leadership and social responsibility. In a recent Harris Poll RQ leadership study, Americans acknowledged Tesla as the #2 (out of 100) company with excellent leadership.
Some good feedback from cave experts in Thailand. Iterating with them on an escape pod design that might be safe enough to try. Also building an inflatable tube with airlocks. Less likely to work, given tricky contours, but great if it does.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 7, 2018
Simulating maneuvering through a narrow passage pic.twitter.com/2z01Ut3vxJ
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 9, 2018
Mini-sub arriving in about 17 hours. Hopefully useful. If not, perhaps it will be in a future situation.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 8, 2018