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Starman, the captain of Elon Musk’s Falcon Heavy, is traveling at 43,861mph towards Mars in a Tesla Roadster

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Alert! Alert! GOTRAX radar discovered a red spacecar in orbit! The GOTRAX team is investigating for Fact Friday.

Elon Musk just sent a car out into space! It is currently on a route to pass the Mars orbit and continue onward toward the Asteroid Belt.

Never before has an Earth car left planet’s comfortable, gravity-bound atmosphere. Would an electric car even work out in space? Unless this car was fitted with some extra space equipment, the engine would overheat and seize. Not that it needs to turn on anyway. The car, Elon Musk’s personal 2008 Tesla Roadster, is already traveling way faster than any car on Earth is capable.

 

"The current speed is somewhere around 43,861 MPH. That means the space car could travel around the entire Earth almost two times in a single hour!"

And who might be piloting at such an extreme speed? Elon Musk calls him Starman. He sits in the captain’s chair with one hand on the steering wheel and the other resting comfortably on the window sill. The car is a convertible, and the roof, of course, is down. Starman has a full view of the solar system and the stars beyond.

As Starman cruises through space, he is listening to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” On the Tesla’s dashboard are the words, “Don’t Panic,” a tribute to the legendary novel by Douglas Adams, A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. That message should help keep Starman calm, as he travels at hyperspeed.

But where is Starman going?

Space is massive, and with so many destinations to choose from, we’re sure Starman finds it hard to decide. Should he go to Jupiter? The Andromeda galaxy?

No amount of turning the steering wheel would make a difference anyway. The Falcon Heavy predetermined Starman’s destination as soon as he separated from the triple rocket boosters that took him to space.

Avoiding any wayward asteroids, hungry space lizards, or spontaneous wormholes, Starman’s Tesla is currently on route to pass through Mars’ orbital path. From there, the spacecar will head toward the Kuiper Asteroid Belt.

It will not reach the asteroids, being summoned back by the sun’s gravity before smashing into the cold rocks. The Tesla Roadster will turn back towards the sun, passing back through Mars’s orbital path. It will loop around the sun and then repeat the path as it establishes its own orbit.

Where is Elon Musk’s Tesla now?

A SpaceX fan, Ben Pearson, created a website to keep track of Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster.

The original plan was to get the Tesla to Mars, but those plans were overshot, at least for now. If Mr. Pearson’s calculations are correct, the Tesla will come within .049 AU (Astronomical Units) of Mars on October 6, 2020.

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Starman’s orbital path (red) on launch date

That’s very, very close by space standards—so close that Starman will get a great view of Mars as he flies by the red planet. Again, we just hope the space lizards stay away. They love red cars, and it’s not every day they see one.

The fact that we humans could even launch a car off Earth, just for laughs, is a significant accomplishment. The “just for laughs” part is important because the event has people talking about space. That hasn’t happened for a while, not since the moon landings back in 1968.

Though you may not be able to drive your Tesla through the solar system, there are other options. GOTRAX has hoverboards, electric scooters, and other space-worthy electric rideables to get you that Starman feeling. Check out the new hoverboard kart attachment for a new way to cruise through the galaxy.

Don’t forget to read about Elon Musk’s next big idea the Big Falcon Rocket

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