Published: Thu, February 15, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

Musk's Tesla to stay in space for millions of years

Musk's Tesla to stay in space for millions of years

The auto is now looping around the sun on an elliptical orbit that takes it a little beyond Mars at its farthest point, and back to Earth's orbital distance at its closest.

The chance the vehicle will actually strike our planet is relatively slight - around 6 percent - over the next million years, the researchers said in the draft of their report, which has not been peer reviewed. It is also most likely that the forces of friction lent by the earth's atmosphere will burn this auto to cinders so we need not worry ourselves sick over the fate of the earthlings of the future.

Subsequent flybys are hard to precisely model because of gravitational and other effects on the Tesla's trajectory, but the researchers say multiple computer simulations permit a statistical analysis that indicates the odds of a collision with Earth are very low over the next million years.

SpaceX recently launched the Falcon Heavy rocket, while sending up Elon Musk's personal Tesla Roadster into orbit in space. The ride also features a space-suited mannequin strapped in the driver's seat while the radio keeps playing a soundtrack of David Bowie songs.

It was despatched into an elliptical orbit around the Sun that extends as far out as the Planet Mars.

The $100,000 vehicle will, in all likelihood, continue its journey through our solar system for tens of millions of years unhindered, simply gathering some scuff marks courtesy of micrometeorites and cosmic debris.

According to astrophysicist Hanno Rein and his team from the University of Toronto in Canada, the probability of Musk's cherry-red auto hurtling back home is 6% over a million years. In this case, it's the reverse.

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"There were two possibilities, either it would stay with the terrestrial planets of the inner Solar System, or it would go further out where all these other asteroids and other Kuiper Belt objects are". Over time, interactions with Venus become more common.

Dr Rein also reckons it is unlikely the Roadster would cause damage if it ever found itself on a collision course with Earth.

"We estimate the dynamical lifetime of the Tesla to be a few tens of millions of years". But there is no danger of this hitting anyone, and in several million years, there might not be any humans around to care. The simulations show a roughly 50 percent chance of a collision with a planet over many millions of years, but a relatively small chance of hitting Earth in the next million.

Although, speaking in a paper published on Arxiv.org, they claimed it's next close approach to Earth could be before the century is out, in 2091.

Yet the probability of this is very small.

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