Falcon Heavy Starman has made first pass beyond Mars

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.

Arxiv – The random walk of cars and their collision probabilities with planets

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.

41 thoughts on “Falcon Heavy Starman has made first pass beyond Mars”

  1. Still good to get another data point, especially since the data we have is years in LEO and this’ll be decades in interplanetary space.

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  2. Actual fun thought exercise:If aliens find this car how much can they learn about humans?size, spectrum of light we see, how much gravity is on our planet (based on the suspension of the car), human weight (based on gravity), reflexes based on upper bounds of vehicular maneuverability, atmosphere of Earth based on trace gasses in tires, characters from manual and knobs, etc etc etc.It would be quite the find.

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  3. I’m pretty sure he plans on getting it himself.You know personally on his specially modded BFS Flagship complete with a nuclear reactor and rail guns.

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  4. Actual fun thought exercise:

    If aliens find this car how much can they learn about humans?

    size, spectrum of light we see, how much gravity is on our planet (based on the suspension of the car), human weight (based on gravity), reflexes based on upper bounds of vehicular maneuverability, atmosphere of Earth based on trace gasses in tires, characters from manual and knobs, etc etc etc.

    It would be quite the find.

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  5. The depictions of the Dark Lord Trump of Mordor as a supernatural entity are obvious exaggerations, coming from folk tales and mythology.

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  6. There is one thing missing from that launch that should have been included.A teapot marked ‘Property of Bertrand Russell’. ;^)

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  7. I fully expect it to be picked up for the museum during its close approach in 2091, to be unveiled for the 75th anniversary of the launch 2 years later (unless someone salvages it earlier). Besides the historical value, it would be interesting to examine whatever remains of the materials to get some real-world data on long-term space exposure effects.

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  8. I assume everything will be similar Firefly or Star Wars at some point… perhaps the core planets will maintain a sense of order for some time.

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  9. No mystery, it is obviously the tomb of a great king. Possibly the legendary Elvis, known only as “The King” from the few surviving written records of the day. It is believed that he led the Jews out of the Land of Mordor.

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  10. I think the idea is that the car could have a close encounter with the Earth (or Mars I guess) that gravitational slingshots it further in towards where it might hit Venus.

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  11. I fully expect it to be picked up for the museum during its close approach in 2091, to be unveiled for the 75th anniversary of the launch 2 years later (unless someone salvages it earlier). Besides the historical value, it would be interesting to examine whatever remains of the materials to get some real-world data on long-term space exposure effects.

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  12. “colliding … with Venus at approximately 2.5%.”. This doesn’t make sense in my understanding of orbital mechanics as Venus is well inside the Earth’s orbit. Does he mean Mars????

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  13. Eh, more likely end up in the Elon Musk Museum, in perpetual cycling orbit between Earth and Mars, to be marveled at by everybody taking the cheap ticket flight to Mars.

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  14. I bet he is looking forward to snatch it himself. Imagine collectible value of that thing, could keep a Martian colony going for a year.

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  15. If humanity fails to exist or goes back to the stone age, if somebody finds this car in space in a couple million years, they’ll have a real head-scratcher. Why was something with wheels put in space with no landing system?

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  16. I’m surprised Musk doesn’t realize that if he helps us all become a serious space faring species that car is going to be salvaged into someones private collection at some point over the next several centuries.

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  17. I assume everything will be similar Firefly or Star Wars at some point… perhaps the core planets will maintain a sense of order for some time.

    Reply
  18. No mystery, it is obviously the tomb of a great king. Possibly the legendary Elvis, known only as “The King” from the few surviving written records of the day. It is believed that he led the Jews out of the Land of Mordor.

    Reply
  19. I think the idea is that the car could have a close encounter with the Earth (or Mars I guess) that gravitational slingshots it further in towards where it might hit Venus.

    Reply
  20. “colliding … with Venus at approximately 2.5%.”. This doesn’t make sense in my understanding of orbital mechanics as Venus is well inside the Earth’s orbit. Does he mean Mars????

    Reply
  21. If humanity fails to exist or goes back to the stone age, if somebody finds this car in space in a couple million years, they’ll have a real head-scratcher. Why was something with wheels put in space with no landing system?

    Reply
  22. I’m surprised Musk doesn’t realize that if he helps us all become a serious space faring species that car is going to be salvaged into someones private collection at some point over the next several centuries.

    Reply

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