Here's Elon Musk's Tesla that SpaceX will launch into Mars orbit

Earlier this month, Elon Musk teased that the upcoming first launch of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket would feature a test payload that includes his own Tesla. Now he's back with the proof, sharing several photos on Instagram of the car being prepped and loaded into the payload container that will sit atop the rocket. Musk, the CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX, has previously said they wanted to come up with something really silly for the first Falcon Heavy launch, and it appears they've met the challenge.

The plan is for Musk's own cherry red Tesla Roadster (the original model, not the new one) to be shot into space while it blasts David Bowie's Space Oddity. As this is the first launch of SpaceX's new rocket, the point of a "dummy payload" is to prevent the loss of something valuable, such as a satellite. "Test flights of new rockets usually contain mass simulators in the form of concrete or steel blocks. That seemed extremely boring," Musk wrote on his Instagram post.

There's a very real risk the first Falcon Heavy rocket could end in explosion during or shortly after launch, but assuming all goes well, Musk's Tesla will be sent into Mars orbit, where it will remain "in deep space for a billion years or so."

As the successor to SpaceX's existing Falcon 9 rocket, the Falcon Heavy has been in the works for several years now. It's essentially made up of three Falcon 9 boosters connected together, and its significantly increased thrust means it can handle payloads almost three times as heavy as the original rocket, as well as travel farther into space. The first Falcon Heavy (and Musk's Tesla) is scheduled to launch sometime in January 2018.

SOURCE Elon Musk