Starman is on one heck of a road trip since Tesla launched it and Elon Musk’s own Tesla Roadster into space. As cool as it was to see SpaceX and Musk shoot a car into space for it to orbit millions of years, there were some very unhappy scientists out there who feared the car might crash into a planet eventually and contaminate it. The Tesla might even hit the Earth in about 10 million years.
The Roadster is traveling very fast and has gone a great distance in the last nine months since launch. Starman and his ride have now made it past Mars; SpaceX announced this milestone via Twitter last week. The tweet also included an orbit diagram to show precisely where Starman is right now.
The tweet said that the next stop is the “restaurant at the end of the universe.” That is a nod to the Douglas Adams book, “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe” which is the second book in the five-part “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” series.
Reasons for launching the Roadster and Starman into space certainly included the need for a slick PR stunt, which it certainly has been. SpaceX also needed an inert payload for the test of the Falcon Heavy rocket that pushed the car into space. Musk said at the time that the Roadster and Starman were more fun than the typical dummy payload.
While there is a probability of the Roadster eventually hitting Earth, the Roadster and its passenger might hit Venus instead in the next million years. The next mission for Falcon Heavy will be to send a communications satellite Arabsat-6A into orbit in January 2019.