Remember 18 months ago when Elon Musk strapped a dummy into his personal Tesla Roadster car, loaded it onto his SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket to test the payload and then fired it into space where it’s remained since? Well the dummy; affectionately dubbed Starman, and the Roadster have just completed a trip around the sun and is now headed for the outer edges of the solar system.
Starman tracking site; creatively named Whereisroadster.com, confirmed the cherry-red cars first full trip around the sun in one year, six months and 12 days since it hit space. In that time, it’s travelled 1.228 billion kilometres at a speed of 41,439kph; more than enough to circumnavigate Earth’s equator in under an hour.
Basically the closest thing Earth has to a real-life Tony Stark/Iron Man, Musk’s unorthodox idea to shoot the Roadster as a test payload into space was sure to grab headlines and wouldn’t have hurt so much as say, an actual satellite being the test payload and the rocket blowing up.
As Starman begins his second lap around the sun, experts believe he’ll return close to home somewhere around November 2020 although by close, they’re putting it in the ballpark figure of over 51 million kilometres from Earth.
Past that, it’ll be a long goodbye for Starman as the trajectory estimations only expect his next swing by home to be in 2047. At least he has David Bowie's 1969 hit, Space Oddity, blaring on the radio… not that there’s any air for the sound waves to propagate.