Published: Sat, February 10, 2018
Science | By

'UFO' spotted in the background during Spacex live video

'UFO' spotted in the background during Spacex live video

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has shared the "last pic" of his cherry-red Tesla roadster hurting towards the Asteroid Belt, after it was launched into space on Tuesday. And we can't stop watching it!

The powerful rocket launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, before breaking out to into space. In its current orbit around the sun, the auto will travel between 91.3 million and 161.5 million miles (147 million and 260 million kilometers) from the star, according to a statement from the Virtual Telescope Project.

The company says demonstration missions typically carry steel or concrete blocks as mass simulators, but Musk decided it would be more worthwhile to launch something fun and without irreplaceable sentimental value: a red Roadster for the red planet with a fake astronaut in the driver's seat. The images were captured by Tenagra Observatories in Arizona.

NASA says that, after orbiting the Earth for six hours and completing the final third stage burn-to-depletion, the vehicle headed out into space, probably to miss both its intended target, Mars, and head for the Asteroid Belt.

'UFO' spotted in the background during Spacex live video

Created to give the rocket momentum, the fuel burst actually pushed it too hard, making it change directions and sending the auto further out into the solar system than originally planned. SpaceX is targeting a long, oval orbit around the Sun for the auto. However, the car's course will be hard to predict in the future due to "unmodelled solar pressure, thermal radiation, or outgassing acceleration that are not yet characterized", according to JPL.

Gizmodo shared instructions for how to see NASA's listing of the Tesla Roadster: once you click on the HORIZONS link: "click "change" next to the target body, type in 'SpaceX,' hit enter, then click 'Generate ephemeris.'" The Tesla Roadster is now described as a spacecraft, and the listing mentions the car's passenger, a mannequin in a spaceman suit nicknamed Starman.

The planned trajectory would have put the Tesla out to the distance of Mars' orbit.

Within three minutes, the Falcon Heavy's two side boosters separated from the central rocket in one of the most critical points of the flight.


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