Is the Model X the new official car of the astronauts?
When you think of astronauts and their cars, chances are you picture the Chevrolet Corvette. The all-American sports car seemed to be the machine of choice for the Apollo astronauts of the 1960s and '70s - a choice that makes a lot of sense given the sort of speed-addicted personality that might develop a taste for spaceflight.
But times have changed, and after this month, it might in fact be the Tesla Model X that you first picture when the topic of astronauts' cars comes up.
When NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Doug Hurley make their way to the launchpad at Florida's John F. Kennedy Space Center on May 28, they'll do so in a white Tesla Model X crossover, equipped with NASA decals on the body sides and rear glass. It's a suitable vehicle for the mission, given its instantaneous pure-electric torque and brutal acceleration; the top-performing model can complete the jump from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.6 seconds.
But it's also suitable in light of the fact that the Crew Dragon Demo-2 mission being flown later this month is the result of a joint effort between NASA and Tesla CEO Elon Musk's other business enterprise, SpaceX.
Demo-2 is intended to validate SpaceX's hardware and clear the Crew Dragon spacecraft, Falcon 9 rocket, and SpaceX's crew transportation system for further use in manned missions. Crew Dragon Demo-1, an unmanned flight mission, was successfully executed in March of 2019, proving in theory that the reusable spacecraft has what it takes.
Spaceflight is something of a passion project for Elon Musk, who remains committed to the idea of colonizing Mars by building 1,000 long-range spacecraft and sending as many as a million people in total to the red planet by the year 2050.
If you want to be one of the "lucky" few selected to live in a Martian colony of Elon Musk's making, best of luck to you. If you'd rather show your support in a more down-to-earth way, the Tesla Model X Long Range Plus starts at $84,990.