New "Late Show" host Stephen Colbert called Elon Musk "the real Tony Stark," the name of the genius, billionaire alter ego of the superhero Iron Man.
Musk does bear a resemblance to the fictional tech mogul. He is CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX and chairman of SolarCity, and his electric auto company developed the Powerwall solar battery packs. He's also worth an estimated $13 billion (which, incidentally, is more than Stark's estimated wealth.)
"Are you sincerely trying to save the world?" Colbert asked Musk on his show Wednesday night. "That seems a little bit like either superhero or supervillain ... you have to choose one."
"I try to do useful things," Musk answered.
So which is it?
Colbert jokingly claimed to have found the answer during their discussion of Mars.
Musk wants humans to travel to the Red Planet, calling it a "fixer-upper of a planet" where people would have to live in domes at first.
But he said the planet can be made more hospitable in one of two ways: the fast way and the slow way.
"The fast way is to drop thermonuclear weapons over the poles," Musk said.
"You're a supervillain!" Colbert replied. "That's what a supervillain does! Superman doesn't say 'we'll drop thermonuclear bombs.' That's Lex Luthor."
Musk also said the "slow way" would be to release greenhouse gases on the Red Planet to warm it up, the way it's happening here on Earth.
"We can export some of our greenhouse gases from Earth," Colbert suggested.
Check it out in the clip above, or watch the full episode -- which includes more with Musk -- on the Late Show website.
All kidding aside, Colbert told his studio audience during a break that he was "truly moved" by Musk's vision, CNN/Money reported, and even suggested that he run for president.
Born in South Africa, the 44-year-old Musk became a U.S. citizen in 2002.
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