Starman – the cherry-red Tesla Roadstar climbing dummy in space – has made his closest path to Mars.
The first test of the SpaceX rocket began in February, 2011, during which the electronically converted bolt bolted to the top of a Falcon heavy rocket with its five passengers (it is common to include heavy payloads in test launches, but it is usually more annoying than the Cherry-Red sportscars). ‘Years later, the Falcon Heavy Upper Stage and the car at its tip are making their second trip around the Sun. Harvard astronomer Jonathan McDowell, who has been observing space objects as a side project, said Starman will be E.4 million miles (.4.4 million kilometers) from Tuesday. ) At 2.25 a.m. EDT in October. That’s about 19 times the distance of the Moon from Earth, and 35 times closer than anyone on Earth to Mars.
(The closest recent method between the two planets in 2004 was 34.7 million miles (5 million million kilometers), according to World Atlas, although the planets are often a few million miles apart.)
Starman, last seen leaving Earth, began his first intimate approach today, Tuesday – within 0.05 astronomical units of the Red Planet pic.twitter.com/gV8barFTm7 or within 5 million miles –October 7, 2020
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The Falcon heavy upper stage will not be seen by anyone at its current distance. And once upon a time in the world of amazingly beautiful images it sat at home, it has long since ceased. But predicting the orbit for a few years is fairly straightforward, and McDowell used data on how the rocket was moving when it trailed Earth’s gravity to mark recent orbits.
The Roadstar-carrying rocket stage is in an outstanding orbital course that is outside the orbit of Mars – about 1.66 times the distance from Earth to the Sun at one end of its track and back to Earth orbit at the other end, 0.99 times the distance from the Sun.
The stage went to the second edge of its 0.99 x 1.66 AU orbit and entered the orbit of Mars a few days ago. pic.twitter.com/C6b8LffPuyOctober 7, 2020
The last time Starman orbited the Sun, McDowell said, it crossed the orbit of Mars while the Red Planet was quite far away. This time, however, the crossing was lined up in a very close manner – although Martian is still not close enough to feel the strong tug of gravity.
At the moment, if you look at the roadster, it probably looks different. As reported by Live Science in 2018, the harsh solar radiation environment between the planets will probably destroy all exposed organic matter (red paint, rubber tires, leather seats and the like), which together hold carbon and Earth’s protective atmosphere and magnetic welding. Without it the windshield and the strong plastics of carbon fiber material will also start to break down. Over the decades or centuries, the car will have to be reduced to its aluminum frame and stratified glass part – assuming that none of them will be damaged as they pass through space rocks.
Originally published in Live Science.