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Key Words: Bill Gates to Elon Musk: ‘Don’t go to Mars’ 

The Microsoft co-founder calls for spending money on measles vaccines vs. space travel—but he thinks Musk will be ‘a great philanthropist’ someday  Read More...

Bill Gates is keeping his feet — and his funds — firmly on the ground. 

BBC reporter Amol Rajan recently asked the Microsoft MSFT, -2.36% co-founder whether SpaceX founder Elon Musk — or anyone — spending a fortune to fund trips to Mars is a good use of money. 

“Not in my view,” said Gates, adding there’s “definitely” more pressing issues to tackle on Earth. 

“It’s actually quite expensive to go to Mars,” Gates added. “You can buy measles vaccines and save lives for $1,000 per life saved, and so it just kind of grounds you, as in — don’t go to Mars.” 

But Gates, whose fortune is just over $105 billion, according to Forbes, also said he believes that Musk (the second-richest person in the world with $184 billion) will join him and megarich donors such as Berkshire Hathaway’s BRK.B, -1.07% Warren Buffett and Amazon’s AMZN, -8.43% Jeff Bezos in pledging to give away the majority of their fortunes during their lifetimes. And he noted that Musk’s electric vehicle company Tesla TSLA, +0.91% is helping to drive the shift toward EVs, which in turn helps to reduce carbon emissions tied to climate change.

“Yeah, I think someday he’ll be a great philanthropist,” Gates said. “Obviously, you know, things like Tesla are having a positive impact — even without being a form of philanthropy.”

“But at the end of the day, I don’t think he’ll — other than going to Mars a few times…I don’t think he’ll spend [his money] on himself,” Gates added. “So yeah, someday I think he will join the rank of philanthropists using his ingenuity.”

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