Elon Musk’s Experimental School Astra Nova Is Opening for Online Learning

It started as a private operation in a SpaceX factory

Elon Musk at a SpaceX press conference at the Kennedy Space Center
Elon Musk at a SpaceX press conference in January 2020.
Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images
By Alex Lauer / July 7, 2020 2:13 pm

If you don’t know what your children’s education will look like in the coming school year, an enticing opportunity has popped up for kids 8 to 14 years old. That is, if you’re comfortable entrusting your offspring to an experimental school kickstarted by a billionaire who said the “coronavirus panic is dumb.”

That’s right, a school that got its start thanks to Tesla co-founder Elon Musk is offering online classes for elementary- and middle-school aged students. As the Daily Beast reported, the virtual institution, called Astra Nova, started in 2016 as the in-person Ad Astra School which educated the children of SpaceX employees, including Musk’s progeny, free of charge in one of the company’s rocket factories.

“Drawing on Musk’s interests, the innovative curriculum had no language, music, or sports lessons, but students would work on complex projects, such as building battling robots, discussing nuclear politics, and planning how to defeat evil AIs,” wrote the Daily Beast.

Astra Nova principal Joshua Dahn told the publication that Musk is no longer involved beyond his initial funding and “administrative assistance.” But even the application for admission to the 2020-2021 online classes seems like a nod to the electric vehicle and space tycoon. Interested students are tasked with submitting a short video response to a critical-thinking problem titled “The Lake Conundrum,” which deals with manufacturing, pollution and corruption:

“The original Ad Astra School was a non-profit 501c(3) completely free to students, with Musk personally picking up the entire tab,” the Daily Beast reported. “In contrast, Astra Nova has been incorporated as a traditional for-profit business, according to a filing with the California Secretary of State’s office.”

The price tag for this experimental learning comes out to $7,500 per student for the full year, but the classes will only take place on Thursdays, according to Astra Nova. If you can’t answer any of the questions your kid has the rest of the week, just have them tweet @elonmusk.

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