SpaceX's Starman finally had its close approach to the red planet for the first time this week. Elon Musk’s Tesla roadster, which was launched more than two years ago on the Falcon Heavy rocket, is cruising up in space with a spacesuit-clad mannequin called the Starman. SpaceX also shared a tweet stating that the space vehicle was able to make its very first close approach with the red planet, coming as close as 5 million miles before moving apart.
Starman, last seen leaving Earth, made its first close approach with Mars today—within 0.05 astronomical units, or under 5 million miles, of the Red Planet pic.twitter.com/gV8barFTm7— SpaceX (@SpaceX) October 7, 2020
This clearly marks a huge milestone for the private aerospace company that has already had numerous achievements in the recent past.
The Tesla Roadster is expected to crash land onto Venus or Earth in a few million years, although the chances appear to be quite slim. According to a report by Professor Hanno Rein, the University of Toronto, the chances of roadster crashing on Venus is about 2.5 per cent, while the chances of an impact on Earth is around 6 per cent in the next few million years.
As reported by Where Is Roadster, an online roadster tracking website, the SpaceX Tesla Roadster has already travelled around 1.3 billion miles in space ever since it was launched into space in February 2018. The number is expected to go much higher before the roadster is done with its space journey. The report also added that the vehicle has completed close to 1.7507 orbits around the Sun. The vehicle is more than 36 million miles from our planet, as of this writing.
According to NASA, Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster, an electric sports car, is a dummy payload for the private aerospace company's February 2018 Falcon Heavy test mission. The flight features the Tesla Roadster which was built in the year 2009 as an inert ballast and publicity stunt.
The Falcon Heavy is considered to be one of the most capable and highly powerful rockets in operation right now. The rocket can carry as much as 63.8 metric tons into the Earth's orbit.
Image credits: SpaceX | Twitter