For many people, the idea of launching a car into space is an outlandish concept. In 2018, Elon Musk proved that it could be done by shooting a Tesla Roadster model into orbit. It is still in space as we speak, circling the sun. For many, understanding this launch and its purpose might be a little confusing. What happened, and where is this car going?
Elon Musk launched the Tesla Roadster into our galaxy for several reasons. Some of these include:
- Creating a performance advertisement
- Attempting to reach Mars
- Trying to bring humanity to alien life
- Showing how humans and goods can one day go to space
Musk’s decision was both a form of advertising and an attempt at scientific advancement.
In this article, we will discuss Musk’s 2018 stunt and the progress of the Tesla Roadster in space. We’ll go over its future and other details that might need clarification to some. Read on to learn all about the Tesla Roadster and its progress towards Mars and other life. Its orbit marks a significant turning point in human history.
Elon Musk Launches Tesla Roadster in Outer Space… Literally
For those unfamiliar with the space stunt that occurred in 2018, there are a few basic details that you should be familiar with. It was a controversial and yet critical event that will have an impact on humanity’s journey through space in the distant future. Through this event, we have taken a step closer to the Red Planet.
The journey to Mars is going to be long and harrowing. Musk’s decision to make this launch happen is one of the first steps in shifting our civilization toward the stars. We have a way to go but putting a Tesla Roadster in the sky is certainly a wild first step. Keep on reading to learn more about this event.
The Event Itself
On February 6th, 2018, Elon Musk and SpaceX launched a red Tesla Roadster into outer space. It was strapped aboard a Falcon Heavy rocket, which was also the first launch for a contraption of its size and weight. It was a test run for this massive ship, an inspection for its potential use in future Mars missions.
On February 6th, the Falcon Heavy, a rocket carrying the Tesla Roadster:
- Launched into orbit: The Falcon Heavy was shot into space at Kennedy Space Center in front of a curious and stunned audience. The launch was successful, and the ship broke through the atmosphere.
- Released the Tesla Roadster: The rocket released the Tesla Roadster into orbit, setting it into its spin between the sun and Mars. It still circles there today.
- Returned its booster rockets: The reusable pieces of the rocket successfully returned to Earth. They did not cause any damage as they landed and resumed their position on the ground.
Once the Roadster and pieces of the rocket were released, they began a long orbit between the sun and Mars. This continues today and will do so until the car falls apart. This may not happen until it reaches a planet’s atmosphere.
The event was met with both praise and criticism. Some adored Elon Musk for his technological advances, paving the way for Mars colonies that might one day exist. Others deemed this launch a waste, citing pollution and the trashing of valuable resources. Regardless, SpaceX and Elon Musk followed through and put the car into the cosmos. It was a first.
Did the Car Have Anything On It?
Long has our planet wanted to make contact with the outside world. Elon Musk is among those who strive to speak with otherworldly beings. His Tesla Roadster proves that with the items that were pushed into space with it.
When the vehicle was launched, it came with a few bonus objects attached. Some were for flair, and some were for communication if other forms of life were encountered along the way. They were intended to explain humanity to outsiders.
The cherry red Tesla Roadster came with the following extras onboard:
- A dummy: A dummy named “Starman” was placed inside the car, strapped down. He drives the vehicle as it navigates through space. The dummy is symbolic of human potential on Mars.
- A reference: On the dashboard, the phrase “Don’t Panic” is written out for all to see. This is a reference to a book by Douglas Adams.
- A book trilogy: Inside the car, there is a quartz laser storage device that holds the entirety of Isaac Asimov’s famous trilogy. The storage is a test product of Tesla now floating around the sun.
- A song: Though it is probably not playing anymore, the speaker on the Tesla Roadster blasted David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” as it orbited. It’s played many, many times since the car has been launched.
What were all of these items for? Some were certainly for show. Watchers might get a kick out of seeing a book reference or a dummy out in space driving a car through the sky. Some of it is in case of an alien encounter. There are significant human achievements attached to demonstrate our knowledge to them.
Much of it is also to ensure that goods and humanity can make it to Mars. Musk wanted to prove that we are capable of safely getting items to space that are not just rocket ships and space suits. The items he chose reflect that.
Why Did Elon Musk Perform This Stunt?
This action may not make a lot of sense to people. After all, it’s true that shooting a car into space is a waste of a perfectly good vehicle. It doesn’t matter that it was used. A car is a car. When asked about it, Elon Musk had a pretty clear idea of why he wanted to push his Tesla Roadster into orbit. His rationale didn’t regard the destruction of a valuable car.
According to Elon Musk, the car was sent into the cosmos for:
- Inspiration: Musk sent the car into space to inspire a generation of people. He hoped that it would serve as something that could push generations to look towards the future.
- Brand awareness: Elon Musk is a pioneer, but he is also a businessman. Shooting a Tesla into space doesn’t harm the brand. It’s likely that sending the car into space boosted business to some degree.
- The future: Overall, the largest reason that the car was sent into orbit was for the future. Countless individuals are looking towards the colonization of Mars as the future. The Tesla Roadster is proof that goods and people can travel to Mars inside of a vessel like the Falcon Heavy.
This event showed just how powerful certain entities could be on their own. If one man can build a company to a point where they can shoot a car into space, what’s stopping us from taking our civilization to Mars? Elon Musk is an ordinary guy that built himself up. Anyone can strive to reach the stars like him.
If the future of humanity one day means populating the Red Planet, we can look at Elon Musk’s launch as the start of it all. His stunt was both spectacular and a shift into the future. The guy made a bold move when no one else would and succeeded.
Why Launch the Tesla Roadster Instead of Another Tesla Vehicle?
Elon Musk chose a very specific car for his launch into space. If you’re not familiar with cars, you might be curious as to what made the Tesla Roadster the perfect fit for a stunt of this caliber. After all, you can’t even purchase this vehicle on the market. Why did it get to go to Mars?
There are a few reasons why Musk likely chose to use the Tesla Roadster for the launch. We’ll go over a few of them in detail.
- It’s a flashy car: There is little doubt that the Tesla Roadster is a flashy car. It looks good in space, and it draws the eye to it. It’s a great vehicle for garnering attention.
- It’s a fast method of travel: The Tesla Roadster is a fast car. This could signify the speed at which Musk believes we will be going to space.
- It’s one of his originals: The first generation of Tesla Roadster came out in 2008, making it the first official car that it released. Musk could be drawing back on this first by using it in another. It was also his car.
- It’s a convertible: The convertible aspect of the Tesla Roadster allows for the dummy to be visible from the inside. It also permits a unique image when pictures can be taken of it in orbit. It appears almost like an art piece in action against the stars.
Whatever the reason, Elon Musk selected the iconic Tesla Roadster for his launch into space. It was and continues to be a great marketing stunt for the car and brand, as well as a unique foray into the unknown. Musk is a genius that no one ever expects, using his income for advances in the wildest ways.
The Tesla Roadster is one of the cars that started it all. Elon Musk’s choice was likely personal and picked with careful precision. He made sure that the entire world would admire the vehicle that he chose, from the color to the style.
Where is the Vehicle Going?
The Tesla Roadster was sent into space with the intent of making a statement. Its orbit will shift between Mars and the sun until it disintegrates into the void of outer space. This could take a very long time. Though it will not stay beautiful, it will likely stay intact for the foreseeable future.
The vehicle isn’t exactly going anywhere. It does not have a set destination. Rather, it intends to orbit as far as it can go around Mars and beyond. The car was also sent with the hope that:
• It would send humanity to other planets
• It would inspire for the future
• It would demonstrate the power and ability of the Falcon Heavy
The orbit of the midnight cherry Tesla Roadster proves that Falcon Heavy is capable of launching an object into orbit. This could affect future missions that carry out in later years. The vehicle was a stunt, but one with a purpose. Everything is being done with the intent of setting up a trajectory for the world that is to come.
Where Is the Tesla Roadster Today?
As of February of this year, the Tesla Roadster is currently on its third orbit around the sun. It just completed its second full circle in the orbit that it fell into after launch. With this next orbit, it will reach the far side of Mars, which is closer to the planet than any human being has ever gotten.
The next full orbit of the car will be completed on September 5th, 2022. This is a ways away. The hope is that, by this point, humanity will start making strides towards the Red Planet.
Will the Tesla Roadster Ever Reach Mars?
It is not likely that the Tesla Roadster will ever reach Mars. However, it has orbited closer to Mars than anyone on our planet has ever reached. Though no camera photos are being sent back as the vehicle decays, it is interesting to see just how far it will be able to go before it falls into destruction. This could take a long time.
Even if the Tesla Roadster got close enough to land on Mars, it does not possess the capability to land in a manner that is anything other than smashing into the surface. It would not survive the impact.
For the Tesla Roadster to land on Mars, it would need:
- Large retro-rockets: These would permit the Tesla Roadster to alter its speed and keep it from crashing on the surface.
- Landing legs: These would prevent the car from damaging itself in the process of securing a landing position.
- Full self-control: The landing could not be a random event. It would need some form of self-control to survive the impact and make use after settling.
- A landing strategy: There would need to be a strategy when landing. The vehicle could not land successfully without one.
- Planning: Elon Musk and Tesla would likely need to plan out a landing ahead of time. Again, a strategy is necessary.
The landing could not be a random event. It would need to be mapped out ahead of time, particularly with the length of time that orbits take. However, there is little doubt that Elon Musk could make these adjustments for the future.
This Tesla Roadster will not reach Mars. There is hope for other iterations from Musk. This launch was the first step in a journey that is just beginning to be mapped out and completed.
Will the Tesla Roadster Ever Return To Earth?
On the same side of the coin, you might wonder if the Tesla Roadster will ever return to Earth. This is also extremely unlikely. If technology advances, there is a possibility that scientists could pull the vehicle and its occupant back down to the surface. Without that, the Tesla Roadster will probably not find itself trapped in Earth’s orbit.
Of course, the path of orbit could change as time goes on. If the Tesla Roadster does reach Earth, it will not be graceful. The object meeting the Earth’s atmosphere will mean that it will get sucked to the ground by gravity. The chances of this are small, and if it happens, the metal will likely burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere. It would be gone before it landed.
What Does This Mean for Humanity and Mars?
What does the launch of the Tesla Roadster mean for the future of humanity on Mars? It seems rather insignificant, after all. The car will eventually fall apart, and there is no real way to retrieve it until another, more advanced technology comes along.
Though it may not appear to hold a purpose at first, the successful orbits of the Tesla Roadster mean a lot for our planet. The car shows that:
- We have an effective ship that can launch large payloads towards Mars
- We are capable of sending earthly objects into space
- We can venture farther than we ever thought that we could before
The entire world watched as Musk sent that car into space. Many scoffed. Many thought it was a waste of time. However, the entrepreneur was doing something unlike any of us had ever seen before. He was pushing us forward. He still is. He and the Tesla Roadster will likely continue to do so in the future.
When Elon Musk initially launched his Tesla Roadster into space, many saw it as a waste of a perfectly good car. It pushed into orbit with apprehensive support from the world watching down below.
While Musk’s car will never reach Mars, it proves a critical point. People and goods can survive space. One day, colonizing Mars may become necessary. When that occurs, the world might look to the launch of the Tesla Roadster for motivation and security.