Dude, Where’s My Car?
Oh, that’s right… orbiting Mars!
And the cherry on top? A cherry-red Roadster. Musk’s very own.
“[It] will be in deep space for a billion years or so if it doesn’t blow up on ascent,” he tweeted.
The Tesla Roadster, which will be situated in the rocket’s nose cone, stands as one of the greatest PR stunts of our time. If the launch is successful, the car will traverse space until it enters a Hohmann transfer orbit; an elliptical path that enters orbit around Mars and then Earth, alternating between the two almost indefinitely.
Launching a car across the solar system is no simple undertaking, and yet the Falcon Heavy is capable of lifting far more—up to 54 metric tons to be precise. Which means there’s plenty more space to include, say, a teapot. This an excellent opportunity to ruin Russell’s famous analogy.
The launch will cost approx $90M, which isn’t bad when you consider that it’s effectively three Falcon 9‘s stuck together. This is a huge step towards a new economically driven space age.
But what else does it say about our future? Well, with 27 engines and more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff, the Falcon Heavy will demonstrate that crewed missions to Mars are well within the realms of possibility—it was after all designed for that very purpose.
So if you find yourself near the Kennedy Space Center later in the month, look up, because you might witness one of the greatest displays of human ingenuity to date.