by Ailan Evans

Time magazine named Tesla chief executive Elon Musk its “Person of the Year” for 2021.

Time’s chief executive Edward Felsenthal wrote that the magazine selected Musk as “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,” Felsenthal wrote in the announcement. “From Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to Facebook turned Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg, the year brought home the extent to which, at a time of rising protest over ever deepening inequality, our lives and many of the basic structures around them are now shaped by the pursuits, products and priorities of the world’s wealthiest people.”

Musk’s electric car company exceeded a $1 trillion market capitalization in 2021 as it expanded production and continued development of electric vehicle technology. Musk surpassed Amazon founder and former CEO Jeff Bezos to become the richest man on the planet, with his net worth totaling more than $300 billion, Felsenthal wrote.

SpaceX, Musk’s space exploration and aeronautics company, also made strides in 2021, and was selected by NASA to carry astronauts to Mars as well as develop lunar landing technology.

Time typically selects its “Person of the Year” as the individual who “most shaped the previous 12 months,” Felsenthal wrote.

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris shared the title in 2020, receiving it “for changing the American story” and “for showing that the forces of empathy are greater than the furies of division, for sharing a vision of healing in a grieving world.”

The magazine also named gymnast Simone Biles as its “Athlete of the Year,” and the magazine awarded its “Heroes of the Year” honorific to scientists who developed the COVID-19 vaccines.

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