Musk was born and raised in Pretoria, South Africa, the son of a Canadian mother, Maye (née Haldeman), and a South African father, Errol Musk. His mother's heritage include Pennsylvania Dutch; his maternal grandfather was from Minnesota, and had moved to Saskatchewan, where Musk's mother was born. His father is an engineer and his mother is an author, nutritionist and model.
Musk bought his first computer at the age of 10 and taught himself how to program; by the age of 12 he sold his first commercial software for about $500, a space game called Blastar.
After spending 3 years (Grade 8 - 10) at Bryanston High School, Musk matriculated at Pretoria Boys High School. He left home in 1988 at the age of 17, without his parents' support and in part because of the prospect of compulsory service in the South African military: "I don't have an issue with serving in the military per se, but serving in the South African army suppressing black people just didn't seem like a really good way to spend time". He wanted to move to the US, saying: "It is where great things are possible".
In 1992, after spending two years at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Elon left Canada, pursuing business and physics at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia on a full scholarship. From the University of Pennsylvania, School of Arts and Sciences, he received an undergraduate degree in Economics, and stayed on another year to finish a second bachelor's degree in Physics. His undergraduate degrees behind him, and drawing inspiration from innovators such as Nikola Tesla, Musk then considered three areas he wanted to get into that were "important problems that would most affect the future of humanity", as he said later, "One was the Internet, one was clean energy, and one was space".
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