Elon Musk’s ‘Starman’ has completed his first lap of the sun inside a Tesla Roadster, 557 days after lifting off from Earth.
The spacesuit-wearing crash test dummy and his electric sports car hitched a ride aboard SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket in February 2018.
Since then it has travelled more then 763 million miles – the equivalent of driving all of the world's roads 33.8 times, according to data from Where is Roadster .
Starman and the Tesla Roadster served as the dummy payload for SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy test flight, which established it as the most powerful rocket in operation.
As the rocket took off from Cape Canaveral in Florida, David Bowie’s “Life on Mars?” blasted from the car’s stereo and a message on the dashboard read “Don’t Panic”.
The car is currently 185 miles from Earth, moving away from Earth at a speed of 918 mph.
If the battery is still working, Starman has now listened to “Space Oddity” 151,756 times in one ear, and “Life On Mars?” 204,484 times in his other ear.
Meanwhile, the car has exceeded its 36,000 mile warranty more than 21,000 times, moving at a speed of over 75,000 mph.
Rocket tests are usually weighted with concrete blocks but Musk said he wanted to do something different this time.
“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,” he said ahead of the launch.
“It’s kind of silly and fun, but I think that silly and fun things are important.
“The imagery of it is something that’s going to get people excited around the world.”
And should the car one day encounter any alien life forms, they might have an inkling of where it has come from.
The car’s circuit board has the words “Made on Earth by humans” emblazoned on it.
As well as the Roadster, a mini Hot Wheels version of the Tesla sports car, with its own miniature Starman, is also on board, fixed to the car’s dashboard.
A high storage data unit, known as the Arc – which can survive the harsh conditions of space – has also been sent up.
This contains an archive of human knowledge and achievements, as well as the science fiction book trilogy Foundation, by Isaac Asimov, which was part of the inspiration for this launch.
Starman will remain in orbit around the sun, getting further and further away until it collides with another space object.
SpaceX claims it is on a path taking it as far from Earth as Mars.
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