Elon Musk Really is Sending a Roadster to the Red Planet

Posted December 23, 2017

Weeks after announcing that he plans to send an original Tesla Roadster to space atop a Falcon Heavy rocket, Elon Musk has released photos of the auto being prepped for launch at SpaceX headquarters. Musk posted these gleaming images after a rogue photo of the Roadster showed up on Reddit.

The rocket is SpaceX's brand-new Falcon Heavy launcher, which is scheduled to fly in January 2018. But, given that Musk doesn't expect that Falcon Heavy's first launch to be a resounding success, it's within reason that Musk wouldn't mind parting with what was Tesla's first ever production electric vehicle instead of putting a customer's valuable satellite payload atop the "World's Most Powerful Rocket".

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Musk notes that rocket payloads for first test flights are generally just things that provide weight to simulate real cargo, like blocks of concrete or steel. That seemed extremely boring.

If successful, the mission would make Tesla the first carmaker to send one of its models into space where it would stay "for a billion years or so if it doesn't blow up on ascent".

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He said earlier this month that he wants to send the vehicle into "Mars orbit". SpaceX's current workhorse rocket, the Falcon 9, can lift about 50,000 pounds to low-Earth orbit. "Will be light-years ahead of current system, but we are testing it rigorously before rolling out", said Musk in a Twitter post on Thursday.

"I love the thought of a auto drifting apparently endlessly through space and perhaps being discovered by an alien race millions of years in the future".

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An earlier tweet by Musk also promised other "cool software updates" were also in the works and "coming soon".

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