SpaceX streamed video of the Tesla Roadster in space after the launch.
Time flies when you’re floating through the cold, inhospitable environs of space. It’s been five years since SpaceX first test-launched its powerful Falcon Heavy rocket. The Feb. 6, 2018 launch shot SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s personal Tesla Roadster into space. The sports car’s still out there.
A lot has happened since then. Musk’s Twitter. Lots of Starship development. Tons of Falcon 9 launches. Some more Falcon Heavy launches. Through it all, the red car and a mannequin named Starman have been in orbit around the sun. Where exactly is it now? There’s a handy website that’ll show you.
Whereisroadster.com tracks the location of Elon Musk’s car in space. This map from Feb. 6, 2023 shows it crossing over the orbit of Mars.
Whereisroadster.com has been in operation since 2018, tracking the car on its journey through space. Creator Ben Pearson noted the Roadster was set to “cross the orbit of Mars for the fourth time since it launched” as the car neared its fifth anniversary in space.
It takes the car about 557 days to orbit around the sun. According to Pearson’s work, the Tesla has exceeded its 36,000-mile warranty by over 70,050 times.
Researchers had already looked into the chances of the car impacting Earth some day, and calculated the odds at just 6% within a million years. The team also worked out that the Roadster will make a close(ish) encounter with Earth in 2091 when it will come within a couple hundred thousand miles (a few hundred thousand kilometers) of the planet where it was made.
Space is a harsh place, so it’s likely the roadster and its pilot are pretty roughed up at this point. What will be its ultimate fate? It could be doomed to wander the solar system, or perhaps humanity will go fetch it someday and put it in a museum. Anyone want a lightly used, well-traveled electric car?