About 18 months ago, SpaceX launched a first-generation Tesla Roadster into orbit with a spacesuit-clad dummy aboard for the ride. Recently, the mannequin passenger-affectionately coined "Starman" -completed his first rotation around the sun and is heading to the end of the universe.
Starman began his ascent to the stars in February 2018 as the test payload for SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket. He was carefully placed in the driver's seat of company CEO Elon Musk's cherry-red Tesla Roadster and launched into the car's radio tuned into David Bowie's 1969 hit, Space Oddity .
Starman's whereabouts shows the roadster completed its first orbit in one year, six months, and 1
It might seem like this space is used as its test payload, and it admittedly what outside of the norm. But there were a few simple explanations of why the SpaceX team chose to look for an unorthodox method of testing with an all-new rocket. Should the company have loaded the heavy rocket experience one of the company's famous rapid unscheduled disassemblies, they could have been much more expensive than the Tesla Roadster.
But, perhaps more important to Musk was the fact that the stunt was attention-grabbing. Tesla-it was the CEO's personal car wrapped up with some space-themed bowie nostalgia. Plus, it's kind of silly and fun, but I think that's silly and fun things are important, "Musk said during an interview about the launch. "Normally, for a new rocket, it launches like a block of concrete, and that's so boring. The imagery of it is something that's going to get excited around the world. And it's still tripping me out. "
Experts believe that Starman's expedition will bring him back to Earth sometime in November 2020, though his flyby does not seem to be close to just over 32 million miles away. It will, however, be quite some time before the electric car and its occupant pass by their home planet again; trajectory estimations anticipate that after its visit next year, the Roadster does not want to be close to home again until 2047.