07/30/2010 11:41 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Colbert Grills Elon Musk (VIDEO): 'You're Either A Superhero Or A Supervillain'

Elon Musk, co-founder of PayPal, SpaceX, and electric car company Tesla Motors, sat down with Colbert Report host Stephen Colbert to talk about his latest venture, SpaceX.

Colbert listed Musk's many accomplishments, then asked him: "Where do you find time for your secret identity as Batman? Because you're either a superhero or a supervillain."

"I'm mostly an engineer," Musk said. "Oh yeah, engineer," Colbert scoffed. "Bruce Wayne's a banker."

Colbert told Musk later, "You're the future, man."

Musk told Colbert that he hopes SpaceX, which successfully launched the Falcon 9 rocket into orbit this past June, will be ready in the next few years to take NASA astronauts into space.

"And how long before you then have the ability to bring them back?" Colbert asked.

"That's extra, for sure," Musk joked.

Musk also plans to send private citizens into orbit and beyond. "Long-term we hope to be able to carry people beyond Earth orbit. I really think that private enterprise is really the future for space transportation," he said.

The two chatted about possible competition between SpaceX and billionaire Sir Richard Branson's space venture, Virgin Galactic.

"When he left we were pulling naked models out of the couches--for a week," Colbert said of Branson. "You seem a little more subdued and down to earth."

Colbert also served up some witty criticism: "You've got these electric cars that only use fossil fuels, but then you have this rocket, this SpaceX, which puts the rocket into space using as much fuel as 2 million Hummers. Are you trying to break even as spectacularly as possible?"

See the full interview below.


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