The Falcon Heavy launched Starman has made its first pass beyond Mars. It has gone into an orbit where it will fly around the Earth and around Mars for millions of years.
The SpaceX Falcon Heavy launched the Tesla Roadster in February of 2018. It has taken about nine months to go past Mars.
Simulations over a 3-million-year timespan found a probability of the Roadster colliding with Earth at approximately 6%, or with Venus at approximately 2.5%. The half-life for the tested orbits was calculated as approximately 20 million years, but with trajectories varying significantly following a close approach to the Earth–Moon system in 2091.
Musk had originally speculated that the car could drift in space for a billion years. Chemist William Carroll determined that solar radiation, cosmic radiation, and micrometeoroid impacts will damage the car over time. Radiation will eventually break down any material carbon fiber parts. Tires, paint, plastic and leather be gone in a few more months. Eventually the aluminum frame, inert metals, and glass not shattered by meteoroids will be left.
Starman’s current location. Next stop, the restaurant at the end of the universe. pic.twitter.com/Ty5m8IjJpE
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 3, 2018