Elon Musk's space Roadster just flew past Mars

Electric sports cars will reach its furthest point from the Sun on Thursday

05 November 2018 - 16:47 By AFP Relaxnews
SpaceX launched the Tesla Roadster and its inanimate passenger, Starman, into space as the payload on the Falcon Heavy rocket’s first voyage in February 2018
SpaceX launched the Tesla Roadster and its inanimate passenger, Starman, into space as the payload on the Falcon Heavy rocket’s first voyage in February 2018
Image: Tesla

On Friday, SpaceX announced that Starman, the Tesla space Roadster's makeshift pilot, has officially passed Mars' orbit. The car is expected to reach its far point this Thursday.

In February, Elon Musk's SpaceX launched a Tesla Roadster car manned by Starman, a mannequin in an astronaut suit, into the sky. Nine months later, the sportscar passed Mars' orbit as SpaceX tweeted on Friday.

The Roadster is right on schedule to reach its farthest point this Thursday at 249 million km  from the sun, according to Ben Pearson's model on Where Is Roadster?, a website tracking the Roadster's journey.

On November 8, Starman will be at its maximum distance from the sun, after which its orbit will marginally shrink over hundreds of years.

According to Pearson, the car will reach its farthest point from Earth this coming February but will return for a close approach in November of 2020, at which time it will be just 51 million km away from us.

As of today, nearly nine months since the launch, Starman has exceeded its 57 900 km warranty over 10 thousand times by traveling a distance equivalent to 16.4 times the combined length of every road on Earth. At 55,678km/h, this is definitely the fastest roadster the Earth – and the solar system – has ever seen.

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