Or was he?
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk regularly uses Twitter to update fans and customers about what's happening with both companies. His tweets regularly become major news stories. But last Friday night Musk announced something on Twitter that was quite unexpected, if not pretty ludicrous. Discussing the first voyage into space for SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket and its cargo, Musk wrote the "Payload will be my midnight cherry Tesla Roadster playing Space Oddity (note David Bowie tribute – ED).
"Destination is Mars orbit. Will be in deep space for a billion years or so if it doesn't blow up on ascent." Yes, of course that's a strange, if not pointless thing to do. But we've long known Musk likes, rather loves, publicity. Blending the news of two of his companies into a single tweet with an absurd sounding idea is typical Musk. Question is, however, is the Falcon Heavy rocket really going to take Musk's personal Roadster to Mars? After all, as Musk responded to one follower's disbelief, "Red car for a red planet." No, it's not really going to happen. Musk, of course, was just kidding around on a Friday night. The Verge reached out to Musk by email to clarify, which he did.
The Verge then published this. It was only after that happened did Musk get back in touch with the publication, via Twitter, saying he "totally made it up." That all said, another source familiar with SpaceX's launch plans confirmed to The Verge that Musk was telling the truth all along. In response, Musk wrote again on Twitter that he "loves the thought" of it. Whatever the truth turns out to be, the Falcon Heavy rocket will launch next month from the historic Apollo 11 pad at Cape Canaveral in Florida. Whether a Tesla Roadster is part of its payload is still a mystery, and an odd one at that.