Tuesday’s test mission of the Falcon Heavy proved that the SpaceX rocket is in fact the world’s most powerful operational booster. But it might have even been a little too powerful for its precious payload.

The launch was supposed to send Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster into orbit around the sun, where it would fly by Mars and Earth over and over again. But late on Tuesday night, Musk tweeted an image depicting the current trajectory of his vehicle, and it’s not going according to plan.

Join our private Dope Space Pics group on Facebook for more strange wonder.

Enter the Elon Musk Gear Giveaway

“Third burn successful,” wrote Musk. “Exceeded Mars orbit and kept going to the Asteroid Belt.”

Trajectory of Musk's Roadster.

The Roadster came ever so close to the Red Planet, where it was supposed to hang a sharp corner to begin an extremely elliptical orbit around the sun in which the Earth is the nearest point and mars in the further point. But now the car is off towards the asteroid belt — a region between Mars and Jupiter where most of the asteroids in the solar system are found orbiting the sun.

At the time of this writing, SpaceX hasn’t released an official statement regarding the detour but it’s hard not to be afraid for “Starman” sitting inside Musk’s Roadster. The asteroid belt is home to millions of huge space rocks, which could obliterate the electric vehicle if they were to collide with it.

But “DON’T PANIC” just yet — astronomer Alan Fitzsimmons took it upon himself to simulate the Roadster’s new orbit over 10,000 years and he said it’s pretty much safe.

“Basically the Tesla Speedster is ok,” tweeted Fitzsimmons who is a professor at Queen’s University Belfast in the United Kingdom. “But the orbit slowly elongates by gravitational perturbations and stars getting kicked about by Jupiter.”

So as long as it avoids collision, the Roadster should be pretty fine for the next few thousand years. If it makes it that long it will supposedly begin to drift off deeper into space because of Jupiter’s massive gravitation force will begin messing with its orbit.

Safe travels Starman, try not to get too lost out there.


SpaceX is gearing up to send humans into space for the first time. On Monday, CEO Elon Musk confirmed a report that claimed NASA estimates the firm will be ready for people-carrying space adventures as early as April of next year. While a good sign for the company’s Mars mission, a successful human test flight would also enable a new method of sending people to the International Space Station.

In modern society, you can be lazy and not face much consequence. Don’t want to cook? Order Seamless. Don’t want to move? Call a Lyft. But according to a controversial new study, the same could not be said for Homo erectus, an ancient relative of our species. In the study, scientists claim that H. erectus went extinct because it existed in a constant state of meh.

Easter Island, also known as Rapa Nui, is a 63-square-mile spot of land in the Pacific Ocean. In 1995, science writer Jared Diamond popularized the “collapse theory” in Discover magazine story about why the Easter Island population was so small when European explorers arrived in 1772. He later published Collapse, a book hypothesizing that infighting and an overexploiting of resources led to a societal “ecocide.” However, a growing body of evidence contradicts this popular story of a warring, wasteful culture.

A new study has finally offered an explanation for Jupiter’s trippy colors and unusual swirls. These gaseous swirls have become the most recognizable aspect of the giant planet but also one of its most puzzling features. A team of scientists says they now understand what causes the planet’s distinctive color bands and why these swirls behave the way they do.

During their 3,000-year dominance over Mesoamerica, the Mayans built elaborate architectural structures and developed a sophisticated, technologically progressive society. But immediately after reaching the peak of its powers over the entire Yucatan Peninsula, the Mayan Empire collapsed, falling apart in just 150 years. The reasons for its sudden demise remain a mystery, but in a new Science study, scientists find clues buried deep in the mud of Lake Chichancanab.