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.


Every time a person would ask me about my heritage, I would simply shrug. My mom was born in the Italian seaside town of Ancona, while my dad hails from Quito — the mountainous capital of Ecuador. After falling in love on the east coast of the Italian peninsula, my parents settled years later in another swampier, peninsula — Florida. And that’s where yours truly came into the picture.

Earlier this month, members of the aerospace community gathered again for the 69th International Astronautical Congress in Bremen, Germany, and unless you zipped around the conference at the speed of light, you might have missed a few things. But not to worry, we have the highlights. This year, the industry seemed over the moon for — the moon.

Native American scholars and genetic ancestry experts are not impressed with Senator Elizabeth Warren’s genetic test showing that she has a Native American ancestry. On Monday, the Democratic senator from Massachusetts released the test results as an apparent response to President Donald Trump’s repeated mockery over her purported Native American heritage, which has included his nicknaming her “Pocahontas.” While the test supports the claim that Warren has a Native American ancestor, critics say the DNA evidence is beside the point.

In this special feature, we have invited top astronomers to handpick the Hubble Space Telescope image that has the most scientific relevance to them. The images they’ve chosen aren’t always the colorful glory shots that populate the countless “best of” galleries around the internet, but rather their impact comes in the scientific insights they reveal.

American biologist Roger Payne, Ph.D., caught the world’s ears with humpback whale songs in the early 1970s. His record of whale sounds — the first to capture the marine mammal’s complex compositions — went on to become a best-seller and ignited a movement to rescue their dwindling populations that continues into the present. Today, Payne’s recordings continue to be crucial to our understanding of whales. In a study released Thursday in Scientific Reports, they reveal a phenomenon that’s been going on for at least 36 years.