Since the moment the Falcon Heavy delivered it into space, an intrepid dummy driver dubbed “Starman” has captivated the world. In a midnight cherry Tesla, he rides off into the vacuum of space on a one-way ticket to the void. Jealous.

While we can’t watch him on his fantastic voyage anymore, Starman can at least remain in our social media consciousness, as Elon Musk just shared the last known photo of him.

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“Last pic of Starman in Roadster enroute [sic] to Mars orbit and then the Asteroid Belt,” the SpaceX founder wrote in an Instagram post Wednesday. Since this post, NASA JPL [has clarified] that Starman won’t actually make it to the asteroid belt after all. Instead, he’ll get about 160 million miles from the sun.

It’s still an amazing image, regardless of where Starman’s headed.

In less than 24 hours, the post has garnered more than 1.3 million likes — and for good reason. There’s something oddly poetic, even a little human, about the sense of wonderment captured in a photo of a dummy riding off into space.

By Harvard astronomer Jonathan McDowell’s calculations, Starman might be coming back around the vicinity of Earth in 2021. In a series of tweets, he noted the closest Musk’s Tesla will get to Earth in the near future is in March 2021, when it will be at a distance of 45 million kilometers (about 28 million miles).

It’s true that Starman is never, ever coming back to Earth, but he is going somewhere. That great unknown is his home now.


Photos via Heisenberg Media

Apple’s next iPhone models are almost here, which raises an annual dilemma for consumers thinking about getting a new phone: hold on to what you got until the new slate of phones is released — likely next month — or hunt around for deals on last year’s models?

As the tech world turns its attention to the next range of devices, evidence suggests buyers could grab a discount on used models ahead of the announcement while those in the market for a new phone are likely better off waiting until after the new phones launch to take better advantage of the product cycle.

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.”

SpaceX’s manned launches are taking one step closer to reality. New images published this week shows how Elon Musk’s space-faring firm is preparing to send its first humans into space on the new Crew Dragon capsule. The flights, alongside missions planned with Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner, will be the first to send American astronauts into space on board a commercial spacecraft.

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.

Sorry, Elon Musk, but Beaker is now the first scientist to colonize Mars. NASA published a high-resolution photo of a dust storm on Mars’ south pole, revealing a case of pareidolia, the psychological phenomenon of seeing faces or shapes in unrelated objects. The appearance of Beaker was so well-defined in the Martian landscape that even the agency couldn’t deny his appearance. Meep.