SpaceX Starman coasting through space in a Tesla Roadster makes a close approach to Mars

Yes, this is real! The Tesla Roadster is cruising through space! SpaceX founder Elon Musk decided to launch a “silly” payload for the debut flight of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket since the first flight of a rocket has the potential to fail. During dangerous rocket launches, aerospace firms usually launch huge concrete blocks as mass simulators. As the dreamer that Musk is, he chose to launch something that would encourage the public to think big and look beyond the stars — his dazzling Tesla Roadster midnight cherry.

SpaceX performed the debut flight of Falcon Heavy on February 6, 2018; it lifted-off from historic launch pad 39A at the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The successful test made Falcon Heavy the most powerful rocket in service, generating approximately five million pounds (22MN) of thrust. As the Tesla Roadster was put into orbit, SpaceX shared live footage during the flight. It was really inspiring to see an actual car circling Earth with Starman, an astronaut-dressed mannequin put in the Tesla driver’s seat, while David Bowie’s “Life on Mars” was played on the radio (video below). Musk said wholeheartedly after the awe-inspiring launch, “Life cannot just be about solving one sad problem after another. There need to be things that inspire you, that make you glad to wake up in the morning and be part of humanity. That is why we did it. We did for you.”

The Tesla Roadster was placed on the second stage of the rocket, gaining enough velocity to escape the gravity of Earth and reach an elliptical heliocentric orbit that crossed Mars’ orbit. For more than two years, the electric vehicle has been circling space, and on October 7th, Starman made his closest approach to the Red Planet. “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 announced.

Recently, Mars made one of its closest approaches to Earth, about 38 million miles. Usually, Mars is about 40 million miles from Earth. Through using this website, you can see where the Tesla Roadster is at the moment –Where’s The Roadster? – that has been monitoring its location. The picture below is a graph showing the position of the Tesla Roadster as of October 7, 2020.

There is a copy of Douglas Adams’ novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in the glovebox inside the Tesla, along with references to the novel, a sign on the dashboard reading “DON’T PANIC!” The Tesla also holds a copy of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation book trilogy on a 5D optical disc, which is a long-lasting data storage, donated by the Arch Project Foundation to Musk. The most beautiful gesture of SpaceX is that there is a plaque mounted under the car with the names of all employees of SpaceX who worked hard to accomplish this task. There is also a message reading “Made on Earth by Humans” on a car’s circuit board.

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