Elon Musk's net worth fell by $779 million the same day his rocket blew up

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Elon Musk is frequently compared to Iron Man for his audacious vision, wonky tweets and willingness to take big risks. 

On Thursday, some of that risk-taking came to head, with Musk's net worth shrinking by nearly $1 billion dollars — $779 million, according to Bloomberg — in a single day. 

There were two main reasons for the drop. 

The first is that the stock price of two publicly traded companies under his control — SolarCity, which creates solar panels, and Tesla, which builds electric cars — fell due to mixed reactions over a proposed merger between the two. 

On Thursday morning one of SpaceX's rockets exploded just a few days before its scheduled launch.
Source: 
NASA/Getty Images

The second reason is that on Wednesday, word got out that he had put up some of his Tesla stock as collateral to borrow money to cover personal expenses. 

Musk is worth nearly $12 billion according to Forbes, but a lot of that money is tied up in investments in his companies and he doesn't take a salary.

Incidentally, the blow to Musk's fortune had little to do with an even flashier setback: The explosion of a SpaceX rocket — another Musk venture — that also happened to be carrying a satellite associated with Facebook's project to expand internet access.

Though it was the second high-profile crash in just over a year, according to Bloomberg, it may be a bigger problem for Facebook than SpaceX

Crashes of this kind aren't particularly uncommon — they happen about 5% of the time. Facebook's satellite was intended to help make internet available more widely in Africa.

Somewhat awkwardly, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg was actually in Africa at the time to promote the project. After the crash, Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post that he was "deeply disappointed to hear that SpaceX's launch failure destroyed our satellite."

Luckily for Musk, the rocket and its payload were both insured

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

James Dennin

James is a staff writer covering money and millennials. Send your tips and your money problems to jdennin@mic.com.

MORE FROM

Why the new Senate health care bill could make your insurance more expensive

As many as 22 million people could lose their insurance coverage if the Senate's Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 makes it into law, and out-of-pocket costs could also rise.

These 10 chill gigs offer high pay and low stress

Workers in certain low-stress professions actually earn higher-than-average wages.

Can computer games improve diversity in hiring?

Will playing games get you your dream job? Unilever thinks so, with a new class of hires recruited using a series of online games.

Here's the secret to hitting "pause" on your debt

Get rid of debt more easily by getting a 0% balance transfer credit card, trying out new financial management apps, and turning to traditional debt consolidation tactics.

Top telltale signs your student loan "relief" company is a scam

Student debt relief or loan servicing companies may sometimes have shady business records. Here's how to tell if a firm is real — or a scam or fraud.

5 classes you've never heard of — but that can boost your pay in the future

To earn high pay, these are the best classes to take, as traditional industries face existential crises and new lucrative fields of study emerge.

Why the new Senate health care bill could make your insurance more expensive

As many as 22 million people could lose their insurance coverage if the Senate's Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 makes it into law, and out-of-pocket costs could also rise.

These 10 chill gigs offer high pay and low stress

Workers in certain low-stress professions actually earn higher-than-average wages.

Can computer games improve diversity in hiring?

Will playing games get you your dream job? Unilever thinks so, with a new class of hires recruited using a series of online games.

Here's the secret to hitting "pause" on your debt

Get rid of debt more easily by getting a 0% balance transfer credit card, trying out new financial management apps, and turning to traditional debt consolidation tactics.

Top telltale signs your student loan "relief" company is a scam

Student debt relief or loan servicing companies may sometimes have shady business records. Here's how to tell if a firm is real — or a scam or fraud.

5 classes you've never heard of — but that can boost your pay in the future

To earn high pay, these are the best classes to take, as traditional industries face existential crises and new lucrative fields of study emerge.