It’s been half a decade since SpaceX made headlines worldwide by launching Elon Musk’s personal 2008 Tesla Roadster into space atop a Falcon Heavy rocket, sending the automobile on an epic voyage into the cosmic wilderness where it’s anticipated to reside for ages.
The cherry-colored sports vehicle has been in orbit for exactly five years since Monday, February 6. The sports car, which was piloted by a spacesuit-clad dummy named “Starman,” was launched into Mars’ orbit and is likely to crash with the Red Planet.
However, it has been wandering in an irregular orbit in the solar system since launch, with a slight risk of colliding with Earth, the Sun, or Venus.
According to WhereIsRoadster.com, an independent site tracking the car’s real-time location in space using NASA data, the red Roadster is currently 203,408,182 miles, or 18.2 light minutes, from Earth and is traveling toward our home planet at a speed of 6,395 miles per hour. According to the monitoring service, the Roadster orbits the Sun every 557 days and has completed about 3.28 solar orbits.
No one knows for sure whether the car is still in one piece. It hasn’t been seen since March 2018, roughly a month after it was first noticed. Then, in October 2020, SpaceX announced that the Roadster sailed by Mars for the first time, based on a purely mathematical calculation rather than an observation.
Shortly after the 2018 test flight, Hanno Rein, an astronomer at the University of Toronto in Canada, published an academic study estimating Musk’s car would likely collide with Earth, Venus, or the Sun. According to Rein’s calculations, the chances of it crashing with Earth and burning out in the Earth’s atmosphere during the next 15 million years are roughly 22 percent, with a 12 percent possibility of meeting with Venus or the Sun.
David Bowie’s Space Oddity in one ear and Is There Life On Mars? in the other were playing nonstop when the spacecraft was being launched, according to Musk’s configuration of the Starman dummy.
If the battery is still operational, Starman has listened to Space Oddity 496,115 times since he launched in one ear and to Is there Life On Mars? 668,495 times in his other ear, according to WhereIsRoadster.com.