Do you believe in destiny? Sometimes, it seems like things are predestined.

Elon Musk, the CEO and co-founder of private space exploration company SpaceX, announced last October that his company hoped to send a manned spacecraft to Mars in 2024.

The Red Planet has been a part of Musk’s dreams for a long time, given that Musk himself has argued that the only salvation for life on Earth lies in achieving space colonization. The SpaceX CEO has even said that he wants to be buried on Mars.

It seems strange then that Musk’s ambitions were seemingly prophesized by someone back in the 1950s. At the end of last year, the serial entrepreneur tweeted, “Destiny, destiny. There is no escape for me.” What’s interesting is the response Twitter user Toby Li gave him. 

The coincidence is hardly unknown. My CNET colleague Eric Mack wrote about it in 2018. It gained more notoriety when space reporter Toby Li tweeted about it in December 2020, writing, “Speaking about destiny, did you know that Von Braun’s 1953 book “Mars Project,” referenced a person named Elon that would bring humans to Mars? Pretty nuts.”

Musk himself responded to the tweet suspiciously, tweeting back, “Are we sure this is real?”

And real it is, although as one Twitter user pointed out, “’Elon’ referred by Von Braun in the book isn’t the name of the person but rather the name of the position something like an elected meritocratic president.”

Coincidences happen. “Elon” isn’t the most common name these days, but baby-name site Nameberry says it’s a Hebrew name meaning “oak tree.”

Speaking of names, Elon Musk and musician Grimes drew attention recently for naming their son X Æ A-12. That’s pronounced “X Ash A Twelve,” though his dad likes to call him “Baby X.”

Therefore, chances are that the connection between Von Braun’s novel and the founder of SpaceX is purely coincidental. Still, it is certainly interesting to imagine that some people are born with a written destiny — especially if we consider that Musk recently called himself the emperor of Mars.

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