Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | Elon Musk’s Tesla roadster reaches its farthest point from the Sun

Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica |

Where is Roadster? —

No one is looking to make sure. It’s not worth Hubble’s time.


Hexbyte - Tech News - Ars Technica | A launch-day photo of Starman leaving Earth orbit.
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A launch-day photo of Starman leaving Earth orbit.

SpaceX

Since its launch on February 6 atop a Falcon Heavy rocket, Elon Musk’s cherry-red Tesla Roadster and its “passenger” Starman have been moving away from the Sun.

Today, according to the Where is Roadster? website, the vehicle has reached its first apogee from the Sun at a distance of 1.66 Astronomical Units. (1 AU is the average Earth-Sun distance, or 149.6 million km.)

According to Ben Pearson, who runs the site, the Tesla’s position should be accurate to better than a day, but it is impossible to know for sure. The data on the Tesla’s orbit comes from NASA and tracking by ground telescopes for the first six weeks after launch when the Falcon Heavy’s upper stage, and the Tesla, were still relatively close to Earth.

“There haven’t been any updates since towards the end of March,” Pearson told Ars. “Still, there’s no reason to suspect it would be more than a little off target.”

After the first few months of spaceflight, only the Hubble Space Telescope could track the Roadster. This instrument, which recently returned to service after a gyroscope problem, can see down to the 30th magnitude, which is a measure of an object’s brightness.

  • The “Where is Roadster?” website projects the path of the car through space.


    Where is Roadster?

  • The orbit is based upon data collected during the first six weeks of the Tesla’s flight.


    Where is Roadster?

  • It is “probably” still accurate to within a day.


    Where is Roadster?

  • The car’s apparent magnitude is now about 30.


    Where is Roadster?

  • That is right at the limit of even the Hubble Space Telescope.


    Where is Roadster?

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