Exactly five years ago, on February 6, Elon Musk launched a red Tesla into the stratosphere on a Falcon Heavy rocket weighing 3 million pounds. If you’re wondering what happened to that car, well, it’s logged a lot of miles without having to recharge its battery a single time.
The brainiacs at SpaceX have estimated that the car has now completed about three-and-one-quarter loops around the sun. Don’t bother trying to find it in the night sky with the telescope you purchased at Sharper Image — it’s floating mourn 203 million miles from Earth.
In total, the car has traveled over 2.5 billion miles in space. One time it got close to Mars, but remember, in space terms, everything is relevant. It’s not like one of its bumpers clipped the surface of mars. No, “close” means it got within 5 million miles of the red planet. To put that in context, it translates to 20 times the distance between the moon and the earth.
Musk is fascinated, and some say obsessed with colonizing Mars, and at the time the car was launched into space in 2018, Musk had this to say that he hopes his “descendants will be able to drag (the roadster) back to a museum.”
The truth is that Astronomers don’t know exactly where the car is in space, and they aren’t interested in tracking it because it provides little useful data. Could it eventually crash into Earth? Five years ago, an academic paper that says there is a 22% chance of that happening was published. Sometime in the next 15 million years.
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