SpaceX made history when its Falcon Heavy launched successfully, the most powerful operational rocket in the world. Inside its payload was a Tesla Roadster with a driver called Starman clad in SpaceX astronaut uniform, as David Bowie's "Space Oddity" blasted through the speakers.
Tesla and SpaceX both became the first companies to ever launch a car into space, an act that's either the most genius piece of advertising the world has ever seen or something straight out of CEO Elon Musk's geek heart, igniting the regular folks' love for space exploration again.
As the car hurtles through space, there's one question lingering in everyone's mind — where is Starman now? Thankfully, there's a website for that.
After 12 hours of giving people on Earth extremely stunning footage of the Roadster in space, the car's batteries eventually died, which cut off the footage stream, but one website is allowing people to track the vehicle's trajectory against the orbits of Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars.
Called Where Is Roadster, the site was even tweeted out by Musk himself, joking that "it's parked around here somewhere." However, the site isn't actually affiliated with SpaceX or Tesla. Ben Pearson, using data from NASA's JPL Horizons, is the one who created the Starman tracker. He's been vehemently excited about space exploration since he was in third grade.
"I read every book in my little library that I could about space and space exploration stuff," he told The Verge.
So Where Is Starman And His Tesla Roadster?
At the time of writing, the site put the Roadster at 2,217,417 miles away from Earth, but it's rapidly changing since the car is moving at a speed of 6,740 miles per hour. The car is moving toward Mars at a speed of 43,034 miles per hour, 137,645,030 away from the Red Planet as of this writing. If you visit the site now, the numbers will most certainly have changed dramatically.
The car was supposed to head toward the orbit of Mars, but it overshot that trajectory, going slightly beyond the planet's path though as not as far out as the asteroid belt.
Funnily enough, the site also points out that the Tesla Roadster has exceeded its 36,000-mile warranty more than 600 times while driving around the sun. It's probably the car with the most numbers of miles tied to it in the world — in the universe, actually.
Will Starman Ever Return?
Starman will return. Well, kind of. One of the closest passes the Roadster will have with Earth is on 2091, and according to Pearson, that would be a good time to go retrieve the vehicle so it could go into a museum, but that's thinking optimistically. It's very likely the car is just going to float around in space, probably for millions of years.