Tesla’s shot-into-space Roadster has now passed beyond Mars orbit, according to SpaceX.
But don’t worry--Starman will be back.
Last February, Elon Musk decided it would be great if he shot a cherry red Tesla Roadster into space. Officially it was to test the capability of using the new Falcon Heavy rocket to send satellites into geostationary orbit, but unofficially, he probably did it just for kicks. This is the same guy that decided to sell a limited run of flamethrowers just because it would be cool.
And it was, to be quite honest. But that’s beside the point.
SpaceX had such a resounding success that the Tesla Roadster, piloted by a mannequin known only as Starman, has now passed beyond Mars’ orbit. However, we should note that this means Starman will continue driving off into deep space, never to be seen again. The Roadster was launched into orbit around the sun, with the largest end of its journey taking it just beyond the normal Martian orbit but eventually taking it back to near-Earth orbit.
According to the delightfully named WhereIsRoadster.com, the Roadster won’t reach its farthest point until November 8th, at which point it will be 1.66 astronomical units, or 155 million miles, away from Earth. And while Starman’s path will eventually cross with Mars, it won’t actually crash into the Red Planet.
Starman’s current location. Next stop, the restaurant at the end of the universe. pic.twitter.com/Ty5m8IjJpE— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 3, 2018
Starman will eventually return close to Earth in November of 2020, coming as close as 32 million miles. That same year, Starman will be very close to Mars at just 4.6 million miles away on October 6th.
Although everyone’s favorite extraterrestrial roadster will come close, we’ll probably never see it back on solid ground ever again. Not unless it strikes a meteor and gets knocked off course, at which point we could be struck by a ballistic Tesla. Not exactly the way the human race was expected to go extinct, but at least it’ll be a flashy way to go.