Where is Starman and his Tesla Roadster?

in GEMS2 months ago
Greetings dear friends.

Let's start by clarifying who Starman is, for those who have not followed this news, in February 2018 Elon Musk's Space X company conducted a test flight of its Falcon Heavy rocket, and as a payload to simulate how the rocket responded to the transport of heavy cargo, which in the future could be satellites or components of a space station, was placed a Tesla Roadster vehicle piloted by a mannequin in an astronaut suit who was nicknamed "Starman".


Yes, what we see in the image is a Tesla Roadster in space. Source: Wikipedia.com.

The Falcon Heavy is a reusable super-heavy lift-off rocket manufactured by Space X, consisting of a Falcon 9 rocket core boosted by two other booster rockets, allowing it to carry a payload of 64 tons to low Earth orbit or up to nearly 14 tons to near-Mars orbit. This was designed for the purpose of launching heavy satellites or manned missions to the Moon or Mars into orbit. On the other hand, the peculiar payload used for the test is a 2009 Tesla Roadster electric vehicle.


Falcon Heavy ready for launch. Source: Wikipedia.com.

The maiden flight of this super heavy rocket was a success, upon reaching a specific altitude the booster rockets separated from the main core and landed on the ground as planned, and could be reused in another mission, later, when leaving the atmosphere, the main rocket separated from the stage containing the load, and although it was to land on a platform installed in the sea, communication with this vehicle was lost and ended up crashing into the sea 100 meters from the platform.

But despite the incident with the main rocket core the payload continued on its way and was placed in orbit. After the launch several images were sent from the vehicle to Earth, but then contact was lost before it left Earth orbit, leaving some interesting images to remember.


View from the cabin of the car. Source: Wikipedia.com.

But in October 2020 a Harvard planet-hunting expert found it. Although it was intuited where it could be given the orbit and trajectory it was not until two years after starting its journey that it could be located accurately, thanks to the astrophysicists of the university have a project in which they track all kinds of objects in space, and they decided to locate Starman.
After several calculations they determined that it should be found on its second lap of the Sun, and a few months later they were able to determine its location at about 7.4 million kilometers from Mars, at that time it was specifically located at 0.05 astronomical units from Mars.

The experts were able to find it by studying how the car moved before leaving the Earth's gravity and predicting its movement in space. Thus they were able to determine that it follows an asymmetric orbital course, being located at 1.66 times the distance from the Earth to the Sun at one end and 0.99 times at the other, estimating that this orbit allows it to circle the Sun once every 557 days.

imagen.png
Tesla Roadter orbit calculated by Jonathan McDowell (@planet4589).

And where is it now?

If we want to know where the Tesla that Musk sent into space is now, we can visit the page Where is Roadster, a page dedicated to tracking this electric car and pinpointing where it is, providing some curious facts about the trip. At the time of this publication I was able to find that the car is 319,375,548 km from Earth, moving away from it at a speed of 50,776 km/h and at a distance of 364,478,326 km from Mars.

This was undoubtedly a successful publicity move for Tesla and of course for Space X, and although many find it nice to send a car into space, many are concerned about the increase in space debris, although over the years and thanks to solar radiation only the chassis and the most resistant components of the car will remain.


References

Wikipedia.com. Tesla Roadster de Elon Musk

Where is Starman? Track Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster in Space!

Ruben Rodrigues (2020). ¿Dónde está el Tesla que Elon Musk lanzó al espacio? Harvard acaba de encontrarlo.


Thanks for coming by to read friends, I hope you liked the information. See you next time.