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Car Flies Past Mars

It's hard to believe, but it's been nearly three years since SpaceX launched Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster into space on a Falcon Heavy rocket. So, where is it now?

Since launch, Musk's red car, which is helmed by a spacesuit-wearing Starman, has been traveling further and further away. So, OGN thought it might be a good time to find out where it's got to.

Luckily, there's a tool for finding out. And although SpaceX doesn't share much on the Roadster's location, programmer Ben Pearson has been trying to approximate its location for the past two and a half years with a site called Where Is Roadster. It's hard to say for sure whether it's accurate, but it does give us a sense of where the Roadster might be.

According to the site, the Roadster is now 215.6 million miles from Earth and is traveling at a speed of more than 10,000 miles per hour. Interestingly, the Roadster is closest to Mars at the moment, a mere 96 million miles away.

The car is perhaps SpaceX's most bizarre launch ever - but it had a serious purpose. The launch was aimed at testing the Falcon Heavy, which ranked as the world's most powerful operational rocket with around five million pounds of liftoff thrust. Musk used his personal car as a payload, kitted out with a dummy wearing a SpaceX spacesuit.

The car is packed with cultural references. The in-car sound system plays David Bowie's "Space Oddity" on loop, while the dashboard has the words "Don't Panic" etched in it as a reference to Douglas Adams' novel Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Were they a real person, "Starman" would've likely grown tired of Bowie – the song has looped around 267,000 times, if it's still playing that is.

The Roadster is in an orbit that appears to be on a path back toward Earth. However, according to CNET, the Roadster won't reach a near-Earth orbit until 2091.


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