Technology Tesla on course for close encounter with Earth in 2091

03:20  15 february  2018
03:20  15 february  2018 Source:   CBS News

'A Car in Deep Space': Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster Leaves Earth With 'Easter Eggs'

  'A Car in Deep Space': Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster Leaves Earth With 'Easter Eggs' CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Starman is traveling through the solar system, riding in the driver's seat of a midnight cherry Tesla Roadster with the top down. Load Error The improbable, if also surreal scene, captured in a video broadcast back to Earth, unfolded live on Tuesday evening (Feb. 6) as a finale to SpaceX's maiden launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket. The car served as a mass simulator, taking the place of a real payload given the risks that the test flight might have failed.But it did not fail.

Even though it doesn't obey any earthly speed limit and has a space-suited mannequin for a driver, Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster won't drive up his insurance rates anytime soon. Researchers say the orbiting sports car won't have a really close encounter with Earth until 2091 and could last millions

Even though it doesn’t obey any earthly speed limit and has a space-suited mannequin for a driver, Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster won’t drive up his insurance rates anytime soon. Researchers say the sports car won’t have a really close encounter with Earth until 2091 and could last millions of years

A Tesla Roadster launched by SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket glides out of Earth's orbit on Feb. 6, 2018. © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. A Tesla Roadster launched by SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket glides out of Earth's orbit on Feb. 6, 2018.

Even though it doesn't obey any earthly speed limit and has a space-suited mannequin for a driver, Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster won't drive up his insurance rates anytime soon. Researchers say the orbiting sports car won't have a really close encounter with Earth until 2091 and could last millions of years before getting totaled in a planetary crackup.

Launched atop a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket last week, the Roadster was boosted into an elliptical orbit around the sun. It will pass within about 68.7 million miles of Mars on June 10 and cross the red planet's orbit in July before reaching its farthest distance from the sun -- 154.7 million miles -- on Nov. 9.

So Long, Starman! Skywatchers Spot Falcon Heavy Leaving Earth's Orbit

  So Long, Starman! Skywatchers Spot Falcon Heavy Leaving Earth's Orbit Six hours after SpaceX launched its new Falcon Heavy rocket on its first test flight yesterday (Feb. 6), unsuspecting skywatchers in the western U.S. caught a glimpse of the rocket's second stage firing up one last time as it blasted out of Earth's orbit and off into the solar system.Riding on the rocket's second stage was Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster, an electric vehicle with a dummy named "Starman" behind the wheel. After the launch, the car and its passenger spent nearly 6 hours orbiting the Earth on the rocket's second stage, or the upper portion of the rocket that is designed to deliver payloads into orbit.

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Astronomers hope to learn more about the asteroid's chemical composition when it passes inside the moon's orbit.

The Roadster and its mannequin driver -- known as Starman -- then will fall back toward the inner solar system, picking up speed as they near the low point of the orbit, or perihelion, on Aug. 15, 2019. Perihelion in this case roughly matches the distance of Earth's orbit from the sun, the Tesla's starting point.

The Roadster then will head back out along the same path, traveling a now-familiar route over and over again for the foreseeable future. But a variety of factors will act to change the trajectory over time.

Analyzing the Roadster's orbit, three astronomers who specialize in planetary motion -- Hanno Rein, Daniel Tamayo and David Vokrouhlicky -- write in a paper posted at arXiv, a repository of electronic preprints of scientific papers hosted by Cornell University, that the Tesla will have its first close encounter with Earth in 2091, possibly passing closer than the moon.

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sciencehabit shares a report from Science Magazine: SpaceX CEO Elon Musk grabbed the world's attention last week after launching his Tesla Roadster into space. The Roadster's first close encounter with Earth will be in 2091 -- the first of many in the millennia to come.

Abstract: On February 6th, 2018 SpaceX launched a Tesla Roadster on a Mars crossing orbit. The orbital evolution is initially dominated by close encounters with the Earth . The first close encounter with the Earth will occur in 2091 .

Subsequent flybys are difficult to precisely model because of gravitational and other effects on the Tesla's trajectory, but the researchers say multiple computer simulations permit a statistical analysis that indicates the odds of a collision with Earth are very low over the next million years.

"The bottom line is we can't predict with certainty what's going to happen after just a few hundred years, because it's a chaotic orbit and we can only draw conclusions in a statistical sense," Rein said in a telephone interview from his office at the University of Toronto. Based on multiple simulations, "roughly 50 percent are going to hit a planet in the next few tens of millions of years."

Asked why he and his colleagues decided to model the Tesla's orbit, Rein said "we were very excited by the launch and ... as soon as the first orbital elements were published by (the Jet Propulsion Laboratory) we thought, well, let's see what happens to this thing. We're fully aware this is not going to open a new field in astrophysics. This was a fun thing to do."

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The Roadster’s first close encounter with Earth will be in 2091 —the first of many in the millennia to come. Over a million years, the Tesla has a 6% probability of an Earth collision and a 2.5% chance of crashing on Venus, researchers reported yesterday on the physics preprint server arXiv.

It's hurtling through space at 40,000 miles per hour and this two mile wide lump of space rock will have a very close encounter with earth Conspiracy

The Tesla should enjoy a long life in space, he said. The simulations show a roughly 50 percent chance of a collision with a planet over many millions of years, but a relatively small chance of hitting Earth in the next million.

"The orbital evolution is initially dominated by close encounters with the Earth," the authors write in the paper's abstract. "The first close encounter with the Earth will occur in 2091. The repeated encounters lead to a random walk that eventually causes close encounters with other terrestrial planets and the sun.

"Long-term integrations become highly sensitive to the initial conditions after several such close encounters," the abstract continues. "By running a large ensemble of simulations with slightly perturbed initial conditions, we estimate the probability of a collision with Earth and Venus over the next one million years to be 6 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively.

"We estimate the dynamical lifetime of the Tesla to be a few tens of millions of years."

Constant exposure to space radiation, micrometeoroid impacts and extreme temperatures will take their toll and the Roadster's resale value likely will take a beating. But that's another story.


That orbiting Tesla Roadster could stay in space for a long time .
Researchers suggest a small chance the Tesla Roadster will hit Earth in one million years.More like "a few tens of millions of years," said researchers in a study posted to Cornell University's arXiv's site. According to reports, the study will be submitted to the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

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