Febrero 21, 2018

Tesla sports car now flying toward asteroid belt beyond Mars

08 Febrero 2018, 07:28 | Benedicto Grullon

WATCH LIVE: SpaceX launches the Falcon Heavy, the rocket that could go to Mars


As a promotional stunt, SpaceX founder Elon Musk loaded the Falcon Heavy with his own cherry-red Tesla Roadster carrying a spacesuit-clad mannequin named "Starman" in the driver's seat.

SpaceX is targeting a long, oval orbit around the sun for the Roadster that will take the vehicle as far out as Mars, and have it making laps for a billion years.

The Falcon Heavy launched from the same NASA pad that was the base for the Apollo-era Moon missions of the 1960s and 1970s. Instead, the vehicle will whiz past the Red Planet by a much larger margin than expected and zoom off out into the asteroid belt.

Musk plans to begin recovering more hardware on the rocket, including the payload fairings that make up the nose cone, which would save even more money.

But this sudden change in trajectory will likely spell doom for the rocket's dummy pilot, with the inhospitable asteroid belt taking a toll on the spacecraft.

The speeding Tesla in now on an interstellar path which will take it out towards the massive Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter. The test flight exceeded expectations with a almost flawless launch.

With hordes of fans gathered along the Florida space coast and millions watching on SpaceX's webcast, the new rocket rumbled aloft shortly after 3:45 p.m. local time Tuesday. Just like the car's sound system possibly playing David Bowie's Space Oddity, a song about an astronaut who is lost forever to the void, that can never be heard because sound can't travel in the vacuum of space, the goal was to mesmerize.

"I kind of like the absurdity of it", he said at a press conference Tuesday. "It's still tripping me out". This shouldn't really be a surprise coming from a man like Musk. A livestream produced breathtaking images of Starman and the Roadster in space. Arnold is preparing for his own ride to the International Space Station next month. President Donald Trump tweeted his congratulations, saying "this achievement, along with @NASA's commercial and worldwide partners, continues to show American ingenuity at its best!" "Awesome! At this speed, two hands on the steering wheel please #Starman". That's the same launch pad that hosted Apollo and Space Shuttle missions back in the heyday of US human spaceflight. With the three rockets, Falcon Heavy had 27 engines.

Musk has been a fan of going to Mars for a long time, through many changes of NASA policy.

On Tuesday, Elon Musk launched a Tesla Roadster into orbit. This amount of carbon is a drop in the ocean compared to global industrial emissions as a whole, but if the SpaceX's plan for a rocket launch every two weeks comes to fruition, this amount of carbon (approximately 4,000 tonnes per year) will rapidly become a bigger problem. "SpaceX's successful launch today has pushed our industry to go further faster", Boeing said in a statement. These short hops would take the ship several miles high and then come back down for a landing. "Musk said it's 'game over, ' and I believe that's true". And, as is the usual practice for SpaceX, all three boost stages - the lower segments of the rocket - returned to Earth to attempt controlled landings. "It can launch things direct to Pluto and beyond, no stop needed".

Unlike most rockets out there, the Falcon Heavy receives no government funding.

The president of the Mars Society, a space advocacy group intent on exploring and settling Mars, cheered SpaceX's achievement - and reduced price.

Robert Bigelow, president of Bigelow Aerospace, said: "Our lunar depot plan is a strong complement to other plans meant to eventually put people on Mars. The naysayers have been completely refuted", he added.

Those rockets have a single first-stage booster, and SpaceX has safely recaptured them after 21 Falcon 9 launches. Blue Origin beat SpaceX in having a rocket land successfully for reuse, and both companies have a friendly back and forth competition. SpaceX says the Heavy can bring 141,000 pounds into orbit.

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