Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has been named Time magazine’s Person of the Year.
The magazine announced that Musk, the wealthiest man in the world, as its choice Monday.
“He is reshaping life on Earth and possibly life off Earth, as well,” Edward Felsenthal, Time's editor-in-chief, said Monday on NBC’s "TODAY" show.
Felsenthal wrote in Time’s profile of Musk: “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,” he wrote.
Musk's spaceflight company made history in September when it successfully launched four private passengers into orbit on the first mission to space with an all-civilian crew. And in April, NASA selected SpaceX as one of the space companies to build lunar landing systems that could carry astronauts to the moon by 2024.
Time also named the researchers who worked on the Covid-19 vaccines as this year's heroes of the year Monday. The cover image features scientists Katalin Kariko, Barney S. Graham, Kizzmekia Corbett and Drew Weissman — all of whom "achieved a breakthrough of singular importance, introducing an innovative and highly effective vaccine platform, based on mRNA, that will impact our health and well-being far beyond this pandemic," the magazine wrote.
Time has annually selected a Person of the Year for nearly a century. Last year, it chose President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris for the top spot. And in 2019, the Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg, then 16, received the title.
Person of the Year, whose recipient is chosen by the magazine’s editors at the end of each year, is not necessarily an award. It is representative of the influence the person or people had on the news over the previous year.