Elon Musk’s bright red car and its mannequin driver Starman are on an orbit around the Sun after being part of the most powerful rocket launch in history.
The unusual payload was placed above the rocket – essentially three of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets joined together – after a powerful take-off from the Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on February 6.
Where is Tesla Roadster right now?
The Tesla Roadster is approximately 2 million km from Earth, firmly in solar orbit.
According to ‘whereisroadster.com’, the sports vehicle was 1,449,184 miles (2,332,237 km) from Earth at the time of writing and was moving away from Earth at a speed of 6,838 miles/hour (11,004 km/hour).
NASA is monitoring the flight path of the Roadster which the US space agency has labelled a Near-Earth object in its Horizons database.
The web-interface monitors space bodies such as asteroids, comets and planets in our solar system to keep an eye on where they are and where they going.
The Tesla is listed as object -143205, “SpaceX Roadster (spacecraft) (Tesla).”
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk had intended for his eclectic payload to reach the elliptical orbit between Earth and Mars.
He originally claimed the Tesla would make it to the asteroid belt after the car overshot its original trajectory but that has been dismissed by some experts, according to EarthSky.com
Using data from Australian asteroid observer Rob McNaught, Andy Rivkin, a planetary astronomer at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, said it will take the Tesla about 18.8 months to complete one trip around the Sun.
Reporter Marina Koren of The Atlantic said: “This means that the car will reach its farthest distance from Earth in about half that time.
“The Tesla will cross the orbit of Mars twice per orbit, so Musk is still fulfilling his wish to send his Tesla ‘to’ Mars — it’ll just take a little longer between visits.
Can you still see the Tesla Roadster?
Today, the Virtual Telescope Project (VTP) offered viewers a unique opportunity to see Mr Musk’s iconic Telstar before it disappears from the realm of telescopes completely.
The video, which was live streamed at 12.15pm GMT, is available to watch now on YouTube.