Astronomers spot Elon Musk's cosmic Tesla Roadster flying through our solar system

Liftoff

Not much beyond what has previously been reported here is known about Tesla's electric Semi, but company founder CEO Elon Musk certainly has high hopes for truck.

"Falcon Heavy was designed from the outset to carry humans into space and restores the possibility of flying missions with crew to the Moon or Mars", SpaceX said on its website. In a great article in The Atlantic on February 8, Marina Koren brings together information from astronomers, who were also talking on Twitter on launch day, following Musk and checking his facts.

With David Bowie's Space Oddity playing on the stereo and a dummy - named "Starman" - in the passenger seat, Musk's Roadster actually overshot its original destination of Mars and is now headed to the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

The worlds most powerful rocket blasted off from Kennedy Space Center this week in a stunning, historic flight that all but promises to change the face of space exploration. The closest the vehicle will get to Mars is in October 2020; it'll pass by Earth again in 2026, 2031, and 2039.

According to the revised data ... it will take the Tesla about 18.8 months to complete one trip around the sun.

Tesla Roadster Elon Musk SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch instagram
"Starman and the Tesla Roadster in the rocket before launch. Elon Musk SpaceX Instagram

Tesla initially planned on doing a coast-to-coast autonomous drive in the United States by the end of 2017 but that didn't happen. Click into Jonathan McDowell's tweet, below, and read some of the comments, for a good discussion.

The astronomers say they will continue to try to track the Tesla as it ventures further away.

"We immediately spotted the Tesla Roadster, quite bright. moving image after image across the stars". My four-year-old grandson and I watched it multiple times last week, and he was mightily impressed.

That came when the second stage of the rocket discarded the white nose cone at its tip, revealing the rocket's payload - a cherry red Tesla sports auto owned by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

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