Categories: Science & Technology

Musk’s car flew near Mars, a space expert said

The Tesla Roadster of SpaceX founder Elon Musk, launched into space in 2018, flew 7 million kilometers from Mars, according to renowned American astronautics expert Jonathan McDowell.

The vehicle was sent into space in February 2018 on the first Falcon-Heavy super-heavy launch vehicle. Along with the dummy, it remained attached to the second stage of the rocket, which moves in a heliocentric orbit – around the Sun.

Since the moment the electric vehicle was sent into orbit, its movement in outer space has been monitored not only by Tesla, but also by space enthusiasts. They noted that an important event took place on October 7, 2020 – a Roadster with a dummy named Starman (“Star Man”) approached Mars.

“The star man who was last seen leaving Earth today came close to Mars for the first time — it flew within 0.05 astronomical units, or less than 5 million miles, of the Red Planet,” SpaceX said on its Twitter page.

McDowell noted on his Twitter page that, according to his calculations, the car flew 7.41 million kilometers from Mars at 9.25 Moscow time on October 7. This is the shortest distance the Tesla Roadster could approach the Red Planet.

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Launched by SpaceX, the machine was recently included in the category of space debris and is now at a distance of about 89.6 million kilometers from Earth and as of September 2020 is moving at a speed of about 14.5 kilometers per second.

Tesla is expected to make a close approach to Earth on November 5, 2020 – less than 52,000,000 km away from us. In the future, according to calculations, the Roadster will not come close to Earth until 2047. 

Recall that in August 2019, the Tesla Roadster made its first revolution around the Sun – it took an electric car 557 days to complete this journey, and during this time the “Star Man” covered more than 115 million kilometers, having moved such a distance from the Earth.

Musk previously said he intends to send a million people to Mars by 2050. SpaceX is developing a transportation system consisting of a fully reusable Super Heavy launch vehicle and a Starship spacecraft. The system will allow the delivery of satellites, crews and cargo to Mars.

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