6 months ago
No, this is not a scene from a movie. At this moment, there is a shiny red car floating around in space. The car, a 2008 Tesla Roadster, was shot off into our solar system by what is now the most powerful rocket in operation, the Falcon Heavy, built by Elon Musk’s company, SpaceX. The Tesla successfully reached orbit on Tuesday afternoon. The goal was to put the Tesla into an elliptical orbit between Earth and Mars. That kind of orbit would, at certain times, bring the Tesla near Mars. But when it successfully reached orbit, attached to the upper part of the rocket, it coasted for about six hours. A live stream showed surreal views of the car and its passenger, which, don’t worry, was just a mannequin stuffed into a SpaceX suit, floating around in space. But then after the final blast, Musk shared the Tesla’s location and it was heading to the asteroid belt.
Third burn successful. Exceeded Mars orbit and kept going to the Asteroid Belt. pic.twitter.com/bKhRN73WHF
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 7, 2018
That final engine blast propelled the Tesla farther than expected, so the car overshot its destination and was sent barreling toward the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. But astronomers quickly started talking on social media and came to the conclusion that Musk’s numbers would not make it as far as the asteroid belt as Musk claimed.
No asteroid visit for the Starman after all *sad trombone* https://t.co/3NCk4yivdI
— Emily Lakdawalla (@elakdawalla) February 8, 2018
It will take the car about 18.8 months to complete one trip around the sun and it will cross the orbit of Mars twice per orbit, so Musk is still fulfilling his wish to send his Tesla “to” Mars.Read the full story at The Atlantic