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Elon Musk’s Deep Space Tesla and Its Starman Driver Just Flew Past Mars

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Elon Musk's Deep Space Tesla and Its Starman Driver Just Flew Past MarsSpaceX

Two years ago SpaceX launched a car into the great beyond, and through a series of calculations it is believed that the vehicle and its driver are now flying past Mars. 

The Tesla Roadster separated from the Falcon Heavy Rocket when it was launched into space, and overshot its original target. The vehicle has now had to tread its own path in the great unknown. The car was ‘driven’ by a space suit-wearing dummy called Starman, and contained sci-fi novels and a Hot Wheels reproduction of the dummy and car.

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Unfortunately, the car was not fitted with a camera or a signal to track. As a result, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Jonathan McDowell, has had to calculate the trajectory of the vehicle and its occupants by using the gravitational data that NASA uses. The astronomer has calculated that the vehicle has just flown past Mars.

Car passes marsSpaceX

The car was not too close to Mars as it drove passed the planet, being approximately 4.6 million miles away from the surface. With that distance, there is a chance that if something was on the ground they could catch a glimpse of the car. According to Business Insider, the vehicle would appear to people on the planet ‘one-tenth the size of the moon as seen from Earth’. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that there are any aliens to see the sight.

Starman is set to fly closer to Earth next, and if McDowell’s calculations are correct it should fly over this November. Of course, ‘fly over’ means that the car will be 32 million miles away from the Earth as it continues its journey.

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The vehicle will then head towards Venus and Mercury. It seems Starman is getting the miles out of the car.

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Topics: Technology, Elon Musk, Now, Space, Tesla

Daniel Richardson
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