Whoever inherits the burnt-out Earth from humans in 10 million years might be in for a surprise, if predictions come true and Elon Musk‘s “Starman” comes crashing into the planet on a Tesla blaring Space Oddity from its sound system.
The Tesla Roadster that launched into space aboard SpaceX‘s Falcon Heavy rocket on Feb. 6, 2018, has just completed its first lap around the sun and could potentially be on a long-term collision course with Earth, according to an independent analysis of the craft’s flight path.
The craft finished its first full orbit of the sun on Aug. 18, according to the website Where Is Roadster, which has been tracking it based on SpaceX data since it launched.
The Roadster is currently cruising toward Mars for an interplanetary drive-by on Sept. 17, the site’s operator, Ben Pearson, says.
Billionaire inventor Elon Musk shot his roadster and its dummy pilot, Starman, into space with much fanfare in early 2018. He set the dummy up in a cherry-red Tesla Roadster and rigged the car’s sound system to play Space Oddity and Is There Life on Mars in a loop as part of the Falcon Heavy rocket’s inaugural mission.
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Cornell University researchers have predicted that Starman will eventually crash into Earth, Venus or the sun, although it could take more than 10 million years for that to occur. Their models show the exact place and date of Starman’s demise is difficult to calculate because Earth’s gravity will tug the Roadster off course with every fly-by.
No matter where it crashes, the Tesla’s battery will be long dead when it happens. That means it won’t actually be playing David Bowie‘s Space Oddity — and there’s nothing we can do.
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