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Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster Made Its First Mars Flyby Since Leaving Earth In 2018

Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster has finally made its first close approach to Mars earlier this week 'driven’ by spacesuit- wearing mannequin dubbed ‘Starman’.

Elon Musk

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s Tesla roadster has finally made its first close approach to Mars earlier this week. ‘Driven’ by spacesuit- wearing mannequin dubbed ‘Starman’, the roadster was the part of a dummy payload that was attached to the second stage of SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket that was launched two years ago. On October 9, the SpaceX took to its social media accounts to post an image of the vehicle as it made first close approach with Mars and came within 5 million miles of the Martian planet. 

An astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Jonathan Dowell, told CNN that “it’s a long road”. He also noted that Mars would appear nearly one-tenth of the diameter of the Moon, which is “so small but not a point”. Dowel reportedly tracked the rocket using the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Horizons system by NASA that has an accurate trajectory calculated from the Falcon 9’s preliminary orbit as it blasted off Earth. According to him, the roadster is in an elliptical orbit around the Sun. 

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Tesla to make debut in India

While Tesla roadster is achieving milestones in space, SpaceX CEO hinted at company’s India debut in reply to a post with a photograph of a T-shirt with the message ‘India wants Tesla’. Saying it would be in 2021 “for sure, Elon Musk’s tweet had broken the internet at the time with people saying they “can’t keep calm”. Musk even said “thanks for waiting”. Tesla CEO’s announcement came especially when India's auto sector that was already reeling from a slowdown in demand last year, has been further hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and carmakers are seeking government support to push sales.

"Please take my booking now itself. I can wait for its launch time but not for booking," one individual wrote. "Wohoo. Finally, it is confirmed. He is coming to India in 2021. Eagerly waiting Elon sir to work in your great TESLA company. That's why I chose Electrical Engineering. A huge welcome," another user commented. "If Tesla comes to see to India there will be a revolution in transportation I wish it to happen," wrote one user. 

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Image: @SpaceX/Twitter

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