Recap: You might remember how, back in February, Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched its Falcon Heavy rocket for the first time, carrying with it a cherry red Tesla Roadster and a dummy driver named "Starman.” Now, almost nine months later, the vehicle has made its way past Mars’ orbit.
On Saturday, SpaceX shared the Roadster’s current location in a tweet, showing it had moved beyond the red planet and is on course to loop around back toward earth. It’s expected to cross our planet’s orbit in August 2019.
“Next stop, the restaurant at the end of the universe," wrote SpaceX, another reference to Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy novels/TV show/movie. A “Don’t Panic” sticker, a famous phrase from Adams’ masterpiece, sits on the car’s dashboard.
Starman’s current location. Next stop, the restaurant at the end of the universe. pic.twitter.com/Ty5m8IjJpE— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 3, 2018
According to the website whereisroadster.com, which tracks the location of the Tesla, Starman is currently over 180 million miles from earth and 133 million miles from Mars, moving away from the planet at 21,050 miles per hour. The vehicle has traveled far enough to drive all of the world’s roads 16.5 times, and is set to orbit the sun once every 557 days.
While most rocket test flights use steel or concrete as cargo, Musk said: "That seemed extremely boring."
“Of course, anything boring is terrible, especially companies, so we decided to send something unusual, something that made us feel," he added.
Starman is kitted out in a working SpaceX spacesuit, which the company says is helping to test it in preparation for flights with human crews.