Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster Is Watching Us All From Orbit 4 Years Later

  • Tesla’s Roadster is currently sitting on the other side of Mars
  • SpaceX launched the EV roadster into space four years ago
  • The launch was a watershed moment for both Tesla and SpaceX

When Elon Musk decided to yeet a car into space, I wondered where it would lead. Would it simply fall out of the sky like so many SpaceX satellites just did? Would there be some form of lasting cultural impact? In reality, all that happened is the Tesla Roadster, and its pilot, Starman, circled the sun a few times. Still worth talking about if you ask me.

The Tesla Roadster in orbit above Earth after its ride aboard a SpaceX rocket
Musk’s space-bound Tesla Roadster | SpaceX via Getty Images

The only Tesla Roadster that exists is in space

Things get a little more interesting when you look at it all through the lens of the original Roadster. The O.G Tesla Roadster’s production ran from 2008-2012. Since then, Elon Musk has insisted there’s going to be a new Roadster. And that this new Roadster will use rockets to hit 60 mph in less than 1.9 seconds. While none of that has materialized just yet, the rest of Tesla has come a long way.

Back then, the Model S was just starting out. Now, the Tesla Model S is one of the fastest EVs out there, putting supercars to shame. The brand also introduced the more affordable Tesla Model 3, as well as its crossover, the Tesla Model Y. Controversy aside, the brand has led much of the dialogue surrounding electric vehicles and our place in society.

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SpaceX put a Tesla Roadster into space 4 years ago

Starman and his Roadster | SpaceX via Getty Images

Back to the original Tesla Roadster. Rather, the one that’s currently somewhere just outside Mars’ orbit. That data comes courtesy of whereisroadster.com. It’s a third-party site built to track the little EV sports car. If you had a big enough telescope, you’d just be able to see the Roadster coming around the backside of Elon’s favorite planet. And there’s more data than that on the site.

Right now, the car is 198.2 million miles from Mars. It’s also a lot closer to Mars than us, having traveled more than 234.6 million miles from our tiny blue rock. Moreover, this is technically the fastest car ever. Right now, per the site, the Tesla Roadster that SpaceX launched into orbit is doing 2,805 miles per hour. But you should feel bad for Starman. He’s had to listen to Space Oddity more than 398,000 times (if the battery is still working).

Where Musk EVs struggle, SpaceX succeeds

SpaceX Falcon 9 during its launch in Florida
SpaceX Falcon 9 during launch | Jim Watson via Getty Images

Thoughts on the resources this all took aside, it was a watershed moment for SpaceX and Tesla. It brought both companies an obscene amount of press. And good press at that, something Tesla could probably use a bit of right now. The company is struggling with its leader’s Twitter antics, massive recalls, and quality control. SpaceX is doing a lot better, but if you ask me, I think Starman has probably got the best deal. He’s got a free car, one hell of a view, and zero drama. Might be a bit sick of Space Oddity though.

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