ICYMI, there’s a red Tesla Roadster flying through space, on a billion-year elliptic Mars orbit, with a dummy astronaut at the wheel, and David Bowie’s “Starman” playing on loop on the stereo.
Why? Well, that’s just the way Elon Musk rolls when he’s trying to:
a) convince the world that his SpaceX company will one day be able to safely ferry people and other precious cargo to and from outer space; and
b) relentlessly and unashamedly promote his range of Tesla electric cars, and his ability to get stuff done.
As Musk explained it himself on social media in December:
“Test flights of new rockets usually contain mass simulators in the form of concrete or steel blocks. That seemed extremely boring. Of course, anything boring is terrible, especially companies, so we decided to send something unusual, something that made us feel.”
Currently over Australia 🇦🇺pic.twitter.com/HAya3E6OEJ
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 6, 2018
Turns out that something was Musk’s own 2008 Tesla Roadster, and so now that is in space.
How it got there was on the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket, the most powerful rocket that’s launched from the US since the 1970s, which blasted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida on Tuesday afternoon, US time, or Wednesday morning, AEDT time.
For Musk and the space nerds, the successful launch is considered to be a milestone achievement for SpaceX, because – as Business Insider explains it – “the 230-foot-tall Falcon Heavy is designed to be larger and cheaper than any rockets currently being launched by the company’s competitors thanks in part to its reusable boosters.”
For the rest of us, the take home message from all of this is probably that Musk and his team should not be underestimated.
If he can launch a luxury electric vehicle into orbit, then he can probably make a decent stab at disrupting both the automobile and electricity industries as we know them – even in Australia. As one snappy Tweeter put it, “flat-earthers must be pissed.”
— bryson (@Bryson_M) February 6, 2018
— Max ferre (@maxsbrainspooge) February 7, 2018