New Delhi: As Elon Musk’s cherry red Tesla Roadster that was sent to an orbit around Mars took a different trajectory well beyond its destination, a space observatory in Arizona, US caught it ‘zooming’ in space.
The car with a dummy driver dubbed ‘Starman’ was tied to the Falcon Heavy rocket by SpaceX and was originally intended to be inserted into an orbit that would fly closer to Mars but the third engine burn of the Falcon Heavy upper stage “exceeded” that orbit, sending the car into deep space, Elon Musk had said earlier this week.
The Roadster is being tracked by the Virtual Telescope Project of Tenagra Observatory in Arizona as it ventures beyond the Moon’s orbit, Space.com reported.
The new observation of the Roadster, obtained by a robotically controlled telescope, showed the car moving across the night sky.
“In its current orbit around the Sun, the car will travel between 91.3 million and 161.5 million miles (147 million and 260 million km) from the star,” Virtual Telescope Project was quoted as saying.
Gianluca Masi of the Virtual Telescope Project and Michael Schwartz of the Tenagra Observatory were able to pinpoint the car’s location by using data generated by the Solar Systems Dynamics Laboratory at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
The project said that Tesla was “quite bright”.
It released a GIF showing the Tesla moving across space, looking a lot like a comet or asteroid. The GIF strings together 54 images captured by Tenagra, CNET reported.
The car, owned by Musk, would eventually settle into its own orbital path around the Sun and not end up in pieces on the red planet.