Tesla Roadster Becomes First Car to Orbit the Sun With No Help from Planet Earth

Last photo sent back by the Tesla Roadster as it left Earth 4 photos
Photo: SpaceX
Tesla Roadster in spaceTesla Roadster in spaceTesla Roadster in space
Once every year, billions of cars complete their trip around the Sun, attached as they are to the ultimate spaceship, planet Earth. But only one vehicle can claim to have been around the Sun without the planet attached to it.
In February 2018, Elon Musk's own cherry-red Roadster was perched on top the Falcon Heavy rocket on its inaugural flight and propelled into space to become the first machine of its kind to reach for the stars.

The website set up to track the car's adventures in space, Whereisroadster, has been keeping tabs on the car ever since, and now reports it has completed "about 1.003 orbits around the Sun since launch."

That officially makes the Roadster the first four-wheeled vehicle to go around the sun on its own.

As per the data provided by the tracking service, at the time of this writing the car is 185.5 million miles away from Earth, passing right between the orbits of Mars and Venus, who are somewhat aligned with each other on the other side of the Sun relative to Earth.

As most of you already know, onboard the car are a spacesuit-wearing mannequin nicknamed Starman, a Hot Wheels toy model Roadster on the car's dash with a mini-Starman inside, and a data storage device with a copy of Isaac Asimov's Foundation novels.

Playing on the radio was David Bowie's Space Oddity. If the battery of the car is still working – very doubtful – the track would have been played 151,765 times already.

It's unclear what other achievements the Roadster will accomplish in space. The car was launched with no particular target destination in mind, and may end up aimlessly traveling through the solar system for ages.

Some have even ventured to say the car will eventually find its way back to Earth, slamming into it as a Fremont-made metal asteroid.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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