Starman is still strapped in the driver's seat.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is a genius on many levels, among them publicity. He never misses an opportunity to somehow put Tesla in the media spotlight, for better or worse. Perhaps one of the most famous moments was back in February 2018 when he decided to "donate" his first-generation Tesla Roadster to his other company, SpaceX. The latter's objective was to test its first Falcon Heavy rocket, which also required some "cargo." Because it was still a test, nothing too valuable, say a satellite, could be used. The Roadster was the perfect test dummy. And speaking of dummies, the electric car was given a dummy driver wearing a spacesuit.
Starman and the Roadster are still out there and according to the latest tracking data via the whereisroadster.com website, both the vehicle and dummy are still out there whirling through outer space an extremely high speed of 75,000 mph.
The latest trajectory data also now indicates the pair have completed a full orbit around the sun and is, as of this writing, just over 68 million miles away from Mars and 185,562,000 miles from Earth. Unfortunately, there are not any fresh images to show you, but last year we learned that the biggest threat the Roadster faces is not, say asteroids, but rather the sun's radiation.
Scientists believed that without the protection of Earth's atmosphere and magnetic field, the vehicle's non-metal components will literally be torn to shreds by radiation within a year or so. By now the likelihood the vehicle has been stripped down to its metal skeleton is very high. As for Starman, well, he's not made of metal. Even his protective spacesuit stands no chance against radiation at those levels.
Eventually, the vehicle, or what's left of it, will enter Mars orbit – assuming it doesn't get smashed by an asteroid first. One last question: is David Bowie's Space Oddity still playing? Doubtful, and that's because the Roadster's battery probably no longer works. Above all, Musk accomplished his goal. How do we know? It's still in the news. In fact, the Roadster has exceeded its 36,000-mile warranty 21,254.5 times, and achieved a fuel economy of 6,072.7 miles per gallon.
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