Come on Reg, you should know better! The Tesla roadster is not being sent into orbit around Mars, it is being launched into a solar orbit that goes out as far as Mars' orbit around the Sun.
Everyone is getting this wrong!
SpaceX's first mission of 2018, carrying the secret US government payload "Zuma", successfully launched and landed in the early hours of this morning. The Falcon 9 rocket slipped the surly bonds of Earth at 1am GMT, lifting off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The reusable stage 1 of the rocket returned to the …
If it's approximately at Mars' orbital distance, if you wait long enough it has a very good chance of eventually having a meaningful gravitational encounter with Mars. That's more likely to end up with the car getting flung into the Sun, ejected into deep space, or experiencing lithobraking than entering a stable Martian orbit. However... that might be how Mars gained Phobos and Deimos.
Edit: Assuming SpaceX plans to circularize the orbit after reaching apoapsis, which seems unlikely. In that case the car is basically going to spend most of its life transiting between Mars distance and Earth distance, effectively out of reach of either body for the vast majority of its life.
It does read like a Star Trek Voyager script, an early electric car appearing in the delta quadrant after being thrown into a wormhole following said gravitational encounter with Mars. Cue wacky hijinks with Chakotay driving around the corridors chasing Janeway after finally snapping, Tuvok chasing the car, Neelix trying to cheer Chakotay up; in and out of doors scooby doo style before shooting the car with a depleted positron beam to drain the batteries.
Wasn't Zuma a giant frog that spits multicoloured balls?
Anyway, if you want a giggle, go search twitter or facebook for Zuma. Lots of nuts trying to guess what it is. My favourites so far are the (predictable) weather / mind control claims, and a load of people declaring that it's an EM weapon to be launched at the Norks. I'm not sure that would do all that much damage...
There was one guy who suggested SpaceX would land their rocket outside Kim's palace, have it play the American national anthem then take off again. Which amused me.
According to SpaceX the Falcon Heavy can send 16,800kg to Mars, so I assume to the moon too.
The empty weight of a Lancaster Bomber is about 16,000kg so it should be possible for the Falcon Heavy to put a World War Two bomber on the moon.
(for American readers the B17 Flying Fortress is a similar size)
Musk could make this the second test flight (not with an original Lancaster of course!) .
I can just imagine it... "x" years from now an alien astro-archaeologist will come visiting our system to investigate the remains of this quaint civilisation that failed to make a permanent move into space and find this strange object orbiting near Mars.... what will they make of it?
It appears the satellite went boom instead on into orbit.
I like where SpaceX channels Intel by saying the rocket performed as expected. I would have thought the idea was to have the satellite survive.
This is not the first time SpaceX has performed as expected while blowing up someone else's very expensive hardware. The best one was when a rocket blew up on the launch pad taking a $300M satellite with it. They have done a good job of driving down the cost of launches; but, you have to factor in the very real possibility your payload will not survive. Sometimes the old adage of you get what you pay for rings true.
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