What Ever Happened To The Tesla Roadster Elon Musk Sent Into Orbit?
In February of 2018, Elon Musk along with his private company SpaceX sent the coolest thing into space we have ever seen – one of his own original Tesla Roadsters. Strapped to the SpaceX Falcon Heavy this car was one of Elon Musk’s first electric cars the inspired the future of Tesla and is the basis of the new soon-to-debut Tesla Roadster. It’s been over two years since this supercar was launched into orbit, but whatever happened to it?
You can track the Roadster’s orbit
You can track the location of the Roadster’s orbit as it travels around the Earth, Sun, and outer planets. Inside of the Tesla Roadster one Mr. Starman is strapped in – but don’t worry, it’s not a real person or animal. Starman is a mannequin in charge of ‘piloting’ the Tesla Roadster as it orbits through space – after all, the original Tesla Roadsters didn’t come with autonomous driving capabilities either.
The Tesla Roadster completes one full orbit approximately every 557 days, but it is so small and so far away that even as it passes by us we won’t be able to see it even using a powerful telescope, but several decades from now we might be able to see it one time.
Right now NASA scientists are tracking the car’s orbit through space, and a website called Where Is Roadster is constantly calculating the Roadster’s estimate fuel economy – if it was burning gas. The website also tells you how many times Starman would have listened to Space Oddity if the car’s batteries were still functional.
The future of this space-bound car
The Tesla Roadster will remain in space for the rest of the foreseeable future, though some scientists and engineers believe it will eventually crash back down to Earth sometime near the end of the century. There aren’t as many chemicals in space that would cause the car to degrade with time, and because the engine is obviously not running there is no stress on the car’s mechanical and electronic systems.
Unless the Roadster were to come in contact with space debris like an asteroid it is unlikely that it will meet its untimely end, but there is no true way to steer it away from obstacles or see exactly what is going on around the Roadster at any point in time.
As far as we know right now, the Roadster is still traveling it’s projected orbit around the sun and the car and Starman are safe and sound.
It’s a good thing the odometer doesn’t work on this Roadster, because it will easily be the highest-mileage car ever, and it has already traveled further than any car reasonably will in its lifetime.