Even though it doesn’t obey any earthly speed limit and has a space-suited mannequin for a driver, Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster won’t drive up his insurance rates anytime soon. Researchers say the sports car won’t have a really close encounter with Earth until 2091 and could last millions of years before getting totaled in a planetary crackup.
Engineers at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center tasked with overseeing launches of scientific satellites and interplanetary probes will be responsible later this year for ensuring six major missions safely get into space over a span of a little more than six months, beginning with the launch of NOAA’s new GOES-S weather observatory on an Atlas 5 rocket March 1.
Now in an elliptical orbit around the sun, the Tesla Roadster launched atop a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket Tuesday during the powerful booster’s maiden flight was expected to pass beyond the moon’s orbit overnight Wednesday and reach the orbit of Mars in July as it puts Earth in its rear view mirror, analysts said.
Rumbling into the sky from a historic NASA-owned launch pad, SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket — the world’s most powerful present-day launcher — flew for the first time Tuesday, dispatching a road-worn electric Tesla sports car with a spacesuit-clad mannequin nicknamed “Starman” on an interplanetary journey that will reach beyond the orbit of Mars.