SpaceX Starman Roadster Complete Solar Orbit

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Why Did Elon Musk Send A Tesla Into Space?

If you’re the cynical type, you’d answer that question with something like, “Because he has more dollars than sense.” On the other hand, if you’re the optimistic-rainbows-and-unicorns type, you might say something like “The same reason we climb mountains—because they’re there.” Regardless of the why, however, he did. Back in February of 2018, Musk sent a SpaceX Starman and a Tesla roadster into space aboard a Falcon Heavy rocket.  Now Starman and the roadster have made their first orbit around the sun!

It’s been 577 days since launch, and the roadster has now traveled over 762 million miles. In case you’re wondering, that’s enough miles to transverse the globe at least 30,000 times! Incidentally, the warranty on the Tesla became void after 36,000 miles – pretty much as soon as it got into orbit. Not that Starman has a service station anywhere near him. He and the Tesla Roadster are on the other side of the sun at the moment. Next fall is the soonest they’ll be relatively close to home again. In October of 2020, Starman and his space-roadster will be a mere 32 million miles from Earth.  About a month later, it will be even closer to Mars.  In fact, it will be practically on top of the Red Planet in astronomical terms at only 4.6 million miles.

Don’t Panic! The SpaceX Starman Is Doing Just Fine.

Experts say that Starman won’t be actually close to Earth until around 2047. Realistically, though, he’ll probably get picked up before then. He likely understands this as Douglas Adams’ iconic mantra “Don’t Panic!” is plastered on his dashboard. Both NASA and SpaceX expect to reach Mars by 2030 if all goes as planned. At the current pace of development, deep space travel for humans may very well be a possibility by the time the SpaceX Starman comes back around to our own cosmic block.  

So Why Did Elon Send A Car To Space?

Who freakin’ cares?!? There’s a dummy in a Tesla Roadster orbiting the sun in space! Yeah, it was flashy. It was exorbitant. It was absurd. Essentially it was P.T. Barnum marching an elephant across the Brooklyn Bridge. But launching the SpaceX Starman and Tesla Roadster into space proved that the company’s Falcon Heavy Rocket works beautifully. That was a major development for human space flight, and at least Musk sent a car and a dummy—not a dog or a monkey.

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Brandon Humphreys

Brandon Humphreys

I'm a wizard. I write stuff and it goes from my head into yours - Magic! Apart from that, I am the Senior Editor for Space Porn, a veteran, a rock guitarist, and a teacher.

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