SpaceX gave an update to Starman’s recent journey in space aboard Elon Musk’s very own Tesla Roadster for more than two years since its launch in 2018.
The car made its first close approach to Mars on Wednesday, October 7. In a tweet, Musk’s commercial space company shared that Starman was under 5 million miles away from Mars.
“Starman, last seen leaving Earth, made its first close approach with Mars today – within 0.05 astronomical units, or under 5 million miles, of the Red Planet,” SpaceX tweeted.
However, some netizens are not buying the update. One user said the announcement gave him a good laugh. “Still claiming to have launched a regular car into the extreme temps of space. That car would have fried, melted, tire blown etc. SpaceX are lying to you, like NASA Thanks for the laughs,” said Share the Truth. Another user questioned the image attached to the tweet. “How big would Mars be in the field of view from 5 million miles away?” asked Bruce Perens.
Meanwhile, Nafnlaus suggested that someone should fetch the car in the future and put it in a museum for future study. “I really suspect that *at some point*, someone will fetch it back and put it in a museum 😉 It’ll be an interesting degradation study. Lots of materials that normally don’t get exposed to space,” the tweet said.
Another user shared a clip of Roadster in space. “This is the moment that reality is cooler than fiction. I can watch this forever,” Twitter user Aida said.
Read also: Take a Glance at Elon Musk’s Stunning Car Collection, From Classic to Ultra-Modern Vehicles
In February 2018, space suit-clad mannequin sat behind Tesla Roadster’s wheel during SpaceX Falcon Heavy’s maiden flight. The car is owned by the Tesla CEO who admitted that including the car on the rocket’s flight was “kinda silly and fun,” are important because they can trigger the public’s interest in big projects as such.
Starman’s next Mars fly-by, three missions may have already arrived on the Red Planet, including those from China, the United Arab Emirates, and of course, the U.S., as soon as February 2021.
Meanwhile, Where is Roadster? website tracks Starman in space says mannequin is about 38 million miles from Earth. Meanwhile, the car has already surpassed its 36,000-mile warranty for more than 36,000 times as it orbits the sun every 557 days.
Starman joined the Falcon Heavy rocket on its maiden launch in 2018 as it sat on the passenger seat of Musk’s cherry red Roadster. After a year, Musk said he will blast off another rocket “a few years” later to trail the vehicle, which is cruising on Sun’s elliptical orbit.
However, a study published in the pre-publication site arXiv.org noted that the Tesla Roadster’s journey will soon end in a blaze during its re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.
Researchers believe that the vehicle will not threaten humanity if it ended crashing into the Earth. This is because the Tesla Roadster Starman is sitting on will be completely incinerated up in the air before it even reaches Earth’s ground.
Contrary to SpaceX’s initial assumption that Starman and his Roadster will be cruising in space for billion years, the research team said the vehicle is unlikely to continue its Solar System journey for more than another “tens of millions of years.”
While it may make a close pass by with Earth after 100 years, the vehicle is assumed to collide with a planet in the future. However, scientists cannot predict yet with which vehicle will crash into. Based on the computer simulations series they made on Starman’s Journey after 3 million years, it might crash into Venus, Mars, and even the Sun.
Read also: SpaceX Starman And Tesla Roadster Could Crash Back Into Earth
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Written by CJ Robles