13 Expensive Side Projects Keeping The Biggest Names In Tech Busy

elon musk spacex NASA Administrator Charles Bolden june 14 2012

The old aphorism goes that “idle hands are the devil’s playground.”

Few seem to heed the spirit of this message like the founders, CEOs, and other inventive souls of the tech community.

Elon Musk famously runs SpaceX, his private rocket company, alongside Tesla, his electric car company. Two other notable technology figureheads each have their own private rocket companies as well, and you’ll never guess who is trying to start a major league baseball team in Las Vegas.

In a veritable potpourri collection of folks from the tech industry, we’ve gathered some notable examples of the side projects that keep them busy.

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

Investor and entrepreneur Peter Thiel is aggressively investigating technologies that would — in theory — allow humans to literally live forever.

When he's not running Box.com, Aaron Levie is an accomplished magician practicing double-lifts and pinch vanishes.

He's probably best known for his electric car company, Tesla, but Elon Musk's SpaceX has a huge contract with NASA to help put people and cargo in orbit.

Jeff Bezos isn't only working on Amazon – he also runs Blue Origin, a private aerospace company of his own.

John Carmack co-founded id Software and is responsible for such classic games as Wolfenstein and Doom. And he runs Armadillo Aerospace, yet another rocket company.

Tom Anderson (MySpace Tom) is trying to get a major league baseball team started in Las Vegas.

GroupMe's Jared Hecht is an accomplished chess player.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates' latest passion project is to reinvent the toilet and drastically improve health conditions in the developing world.

Microsoft founder Paul Allen has invested a half billion dollars into the Allen Institute for Brain Science. It will study how the brain works with a goal of curing diseases like Alzheimer's, an illness his mother suffered from. Ultimately, the institute has another goal: to replicate the brain and build machines with human intelligence.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg gave $100 million in 2010 to improve public schools in Newark, N.J.

Michael Dell's private investment company, MSD Capital, bought the Magnum Collection of pictures. It includes more than 180,000 of some of the nation's most important and memorable photographs taken since 1947. He houses the collection at the Ransom centre museum in Austin, Texas.

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