On Tuesday, Elon Musk’s companies achieved their most successful PR stunt yet: launching a midnight cherry Tesla Roadster into space, with a dummy pilot — nicknamed “Starman” — on board.

The $200,000 sports car, which was originally destined to orbit in the sun in a Trans-Mars injection, has become an instant hit online, despite taking something of a wrong turn. The payload was overshot, so it’ll actually be heading into the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Enter the Elon Musk Gear Giveaway

Even though Starman’s slacking on the job, he’s inspiring some really good memes on Twitter. Here are a few of our favorites:


How dare you expose us like this, Starman!!!

Time is a flat circle

Can’t relate because I know nothing about Tesla but, lol.


Watch out!

This meme is just never going to die, is it?

The future is now.

Finally, my favorite:

It’s unclear where Starman is on his journey right now, but one thing’s for sure — people are seriously invested in this dummy’s voyage. On Tuesday, SpaceX live streamed Starman’s voyage, and 2 million people tuned in on Twitter. So in addition to achieving meme infamy, it seems people actually care about this tiny rocket man.

However, Starman’s trip to the asteroid belt could quite literally be a bumpy one, as these objects could pummel and/or destroy the sports car. Since the asteroid belt is about 1 AU thick, it’s very likely that Starman will be hit by something — it’s just unclear how much damage it’ll do.

All that said, we wish Starman all the best on his tour of the solar system. Maybe he’s so beloved because we’re all living through him as he zooms into the vacuum of space, leaving all the bad takes on Twitter far behind. At this point, being pulverized by asteroids might be less painful than this news cycle.

Ad astra, little guy!

Photos via SpaceX

SpaceX has put its latest Falcon 9 through its paces. On Thursday, the space-faring firm shared two images of its first “Block 5” rocket, having successfully completed two missions in the space of three months. The scorched booster is integral to the company’s future plans to launch the same Falcon 9 rocket twice in just 24 hours.

Google celebrated the life of Mary G. Ross on Thursday, with a commemorative doodle on what would have been the pioneer aerospace scientist’s 110th birthday. Ross, a Native American female engineer, helped develop some of the first concepts for flyby missions past Venus and Mars, paving the way for humans to explore the stars and visit other planets. Ross proudly described some of her most important moments this way: “I was the pencil pusher, doing a lot of research. My state of the art tools were a slide rule and a Frieden computer.”

Mars is kind of a bummer: That place is a hotbed of dynamic dust storms that got so big in recent months that they encircled the entire planet. Those conditions, sure to be a challenge for future Mars colonies, are a buzzkill for NASA’s Opportunity Rover right now: A dust storm forced the droid, which has been roaming Mars for 14 years, to shut down in June, and it’s still turned off today.

The first four NASA astronauts set to enter space in SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule met the team behind the pod at the factory on Monday. The meeting comes ahead of the first launch, an historic moment for travel as the first American astronauts on board a commercial spacecraft.

The four men visited the company’s Hawthorne, California headquarters in a visit captured on the SpaceX Instagram page. The visit comes less than two weeks after NASA announced the first crew members for the SpaceX capsule and Boeing’s competing CST-100 Starliner pod. The missions will ferry people to and from the International Space Station after the agency’s contract expires with the Russian Soyuz craft in November 2019. As well as the first American commercial astronauts, the launches will mark the first time an American spacecraft has launched from U.S. soil since the shuttle program was retired in 2011.

Thank heavens the Parker Solar Probe isn’t made of wax, because its about to fly closer to the sun than even Icarus dared. On August 11, NASA is launching the probe into a part of the sun’s outer atmosphere known as the Alfvén point. If it manages to get past it, we can officially say a human-made object has touched the sun.