TMZ asked the astrophysicist for his opinion on the matter.
Elon Musk, founder of The Boring Company and its eco bricks, saw an old friend come to his defense recently. Astrophysicist and science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson went to bat for “Team Elon,” and thinks he’s “the best thing we’ve had since Thomas Edison.”
The outspoken scientist — who has sounded off about matters from the everlasting flat-Earth conspiracy to Friday the 13th — was signing autographs on Tuesday in New York City after he appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Tyson was also asked what it would be like to smoke weed in space, which was a little off topic, but not really when you remember that Musk is currently facing some flack for smoking weed. Reports surfaced on the day after his appearance that his US Air Force security clearance was under review.
During a live appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience on Thursday, September 6, the tech industry genius appeared on Rogan’s podcast to discuss everything from artificial intelligence to climate change, and more. He also happened to smoke a little bit of cannabis, which has been absolutely meme-d to death by now.
Shares of Tesla dropped after a video of Musk smoking pot got out, and Tyson, for one, seems to think the hubbub is all very silly indeed.
“People are very divided on Elon Musk right now,” the photographer says to Tyson in the TMZ clip, seen below. “I was wondering what your take is on the matter, and, is he capable of…”
But then Tyson cuts the photographer off and says, “Can they leave him alone?”
“Let the man get high if he wants to get high,” Tyson continues. “He’s got to obey the SEC, clearly, but if he doesn’t want to obey the SEC, then he’s got to have a private company, then he can do what he wants. But he took his company public, so there’s an accountability there, to the public trust.”
“But other than that,” Tyson adds, “he’s the only game in town.” The photographer then asks the astrophysicist whether he’s “Team Elon,” and Tyson replies, “Count me as Team Elon.”
“He’s the best thing we’ve had since Thomas Edison,” Tyson says, which is clearly high praise coming from a scientist. Tyson suggests that he thinks Musk has a lot of potential for doing good in this country, and that he should be left alone to do it.
“What would it be like, smoking weed in space, just out of curiosity,” the photographer quickly pivots. Tyson reminds the guy that many things in space will kill you, and that “if you wanna get high in space, you like, lock yourself in your cabin and don’t come out,” he jokes, just in case you accidentally break something while you’re high.
So if Musk ever decides to hightail it to space himself, and not just send a Tesla Roadster blasting David Bowie’s “Life on Mars” as the soundtrack, he might want to be careful about lighting up while he’s up there.