Elon Musk is prepared to baffle some aliens with his space-bound supercar. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO waved goodbye to his Roadster on Tuesday, as it lifted into orbit inside a Falcon Heavy. The rocket, currently the world’s most powerful, sent Musk’s red electric car into space as part of its inaugural flight.
“After that it’s just going to be out there in space for maybe millions or billions of years,” Musk told Space.com and other reporters after the launch at the Kennedy Space Center. “Maybe discovered by some future alien race thinking what the heck, what were these guys doing? Did they worship this car? Why do they have a little car in the car? And that’ll really confuse them.”
Perhaps even weirder is when the aliens look inside and see a dummy in the driver seat. “Starman,” the nickname for the passenger, is wearing the same spacesuit that SpaceX intends for use on its manned missions inside the company’s Dragon capsule. Perhaps it won’t be the only time aliens spot the suit after all.
Watch the Falcon Heavy’s big moment below:
Look closer, and the aliens will find an in-car sound system playing David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” on loop. In the dashboard, a sign is labelled “Don’t Panic” as a cheeky reference to Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy. On the car’s circuit board is a little message that says “Made on Earth by humans.” Any aliens that come across this thing will find tons of tidbits to pore over.
The SpaceX mission was a big success. Although only two of the three boosters landed safely as planned, the rocket took off and sent “Starman” on their journey without a hitch.
“I had this image of a giant explosion on the pad, with a wheel bouncing down the road and the Tesla logo landing somewhere with a thud,” Musk said. “But fortunately, that’s not what happened.”
Although it seems like putting his supercar on a space rocket might give the mission a more sentimental value, prior to the launch Musk rebuffed suggestions from a reporter that the occasion was more personal this time around.
“It’s always personal,” Musk said.
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