In 2017, Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, was preparing for the test flight of the Falcon Heavy, a partially reusable launch vehicle. The launch vehicle has since then completed 5 successful missions, including the recent one on January 15, 2023. But during the preparatory days, he said in an interview that since the launch was risky, he wanted it to carry the “silliest thing we can imagine”. After the suggestion from a Twitter user, Musk decided to shoot his personal Tesla Roadster car into space! It has been five years since then and the Tesla car is still roaming in space. However, there is a chance that it might crash back into the Earth! Yes, you read that right.
According to a report by CNN, the car has completed about three and one quarter loops around the Sun and it has traveled a cool 4 billion kilometers. It is now positioned 327 million kilometers away from Earth. In this period, it has also avoided some close encounters, among which, in 2020, it came within 800000 kilometers of Mars. But it may not be able to avoid crashes forever.
Tesla Roadster can come crashing down to the Earth
For now, Earth is safe from Elon Musk’s Roadster. CNN report states that, based on data from NASA, that the car is not going to make a close approach to another planet till 2035 when it will again brush past Mars. After that, it will make two flybys past the Earth in 2047 and 2050, where it will come to within just a few million kilometers of it.
However, a study published in arXiv titled ‘The random walk of cars and their collision probabilities with planets’ has revealed that in the next 15 million years, there is a 22 percent chance that the car will crash into the Earth. There is also a slight 12 percent chance that the Tesla Roadster may end up in Venus.
In 2017, after revealing that he will be sending his personal car to space, Musk famously said, “I love the thought of a car drifting apparently endlessly through space and perhaps being discovered by an alien race millions of years in the future”. During the launch however, he revealed in an interview that he hoped humans would establish settlements on other planets in the solar system and maybe his descendents would drag the Tesla Roadster back to a museum.
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Author of this Amazing Article – HT Tech