Elon Musk’s old Tesla nearly touches down in Mars
As you sit down to your next meal and peer up at the sky from the comfort of your work desk, the smoko container, or the parking lot of a Wendy’s, know that somewhere out there is a car strapped to a plinth.
Over two years ago Tesla CEO Elon Musk decided to send his old first-generation Roadster (and Starman, its solo passenger) into orbit via SpaceX rocket.
The project resulted in a fascinating live stream at the time, but hasn’t rated much of a mainstream mention in the years since. However, its location is still being tracked by websites like whereisroadster.com.
Helmed by programmer Ben Pearson, the site tracks Elon’s old convertible with second-by-second updates. And, as of the weekend, it confirmed that the car had come quite close to 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 pic.twitter.com/gV8barFTm7— SpaceX (@SpaceX) October 7, 2020
Quite close, in space speak, is relative. The old Roadster is within 0.05 astronomical units of the red plannet, which equates to approximately 5,000,000 miles. That’s a bit more than your old man’s Hilux has on the odo, but also far far less than the distance between the car and its home planet of Earth.
Since it left the planet on February 6, 2018, the Roadster and Starman have travelled over 37,000,000 miles away from Earth. Other interesting stats include its distance from the sun — roughly 129,000,000 miles — and the speed at which it’s travelling; approximately 22,000km/h.
Ludicrous mode, eat your heart out.