Tech & Science FTW Explains: Why is there a car in space right now?

04:15  08 february  2018
04:15  08 february  2018 Source:   For The Win

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Welcome to FTW Explains, a guide to catching up on and better understanding stuff going on in the world - or, in this case, just outside of it.

You may have heard about a rocket and/or a car being launched into space on Tuesday. So…what's up with that?

Associated Press © Associated Press Associated Press

Why is there a car in space right now?

The short answer to this question is because Elon Musk wanted it there. But there's so much more to this story.

Who is Elon Musk?

He's an entrepreneur to the max. One of the founders of PayPal, Musk is now co-founder and CEO of Tesla - an electric car company - and the founder and CEO of SpaceX - the company behind the rocket, Falcon Heavy, which was launched Tuesday. According to Forbes' real-time list of the world's richest people, as of Wednesday, Musk is No. 54 with a net worth of $20.4 billion.

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Why go to space?

Well first, space is awesome, and there is an infinite amount of knowledge to learn from it. Musk has been vocal about wanting to launch a rocket into space and to eventually get to Mars, and he teased his SpaceX-Tesla cross promotional idea in December.

Musk has also said that part of the point of his space exploration efforts is to help pave the way for landing and reusing rockets, which would make space travel affordable for people to eventually go to Mars.

When and where was SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket launched?

Tuesday afternoon at 3:45 p.m. ET, the rocket was launched at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Federal Aviation Administration licensed the launch. The 30-second countdown starts at the 29:25 mark in the launch video.

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According to Musk, this is the Falcon Heavy's flight path.

Flight profile #FalconHeavy #SpaceX

A post shared by Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on Feb 6, 2018 at 8:42am PST

How was the Tesla Roadster actually put inside the rocket?

Like this.

Starman in Red Roadster

A post shared by Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on Feb 4, 2018 at 9:50pm PST

As USA TODAY recently explained, the car can be "seen sitting atop what looks like the nose cone of the Falcon Heavy, a powerful new rocket whose successful inaugural test flight could lead to commercial launches in the fall."

More via The Guardian about how this car is actually planning to get to Mars:

The Roadster, still attached to the rocket's upper stage, will spend hours zapped by radioactive rays in the Van Allen belts. After that, all being well, the upper stage boosters will fire one last time, pushing the Tesla out towards its elliptical orbit around Mars. If things don't go to plan, it could orbit Earth, potentially indefinitely.

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Who's the dummy in the front seat?

That's Starman, as Musk appears to have named it, and he said the Roadster's radio would blast David Bowie's Space Oddity, while the rocket itself is reportedly playing Bowie's Life on Mars.

Camera views from inside the payload fairing #FalconHeavy

A post shared by Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on Feb 6, 2018 at 12:36pm PST

Here are some other details about the car that are just for show, along with Starman. Via USA TODAY:

His cherry red Tesla convertible's only passenger was the driver's seat figure wearing the same white spacesuit NASA astronauts will don for missions to the International Space Station aboard SpaceX Dragon capsules, in the next year or so.

Secured by a seat belt, the "Starman's" right hand held the steering wheel while its left arm rested on the door. The dashboard screen read "Don't Panic," a reference to Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Other payloads included a small Hot Wheels Roadster on the dashboard, a disk inside the car storing science fiction author Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy, and a plaque bearing SpaceX employees' names.


Printed on the circuit board of a car in deep space

A post shared by Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on Feb 6, 2018 at 2:40pm PST


So what does this look like in space?

Musk tweeted a live-stream video of what Starman is seeing.

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That explains why you are so uninformed*".

Now there are others coming up now who definitely want to reach for it. [Dean] Ambrose is one of them, Seth Rollins is another one. Nick Schwartz wrote for FTW from 2013-16. He believes The Rock should have his own emoji.

Pictures: Space X: Falcon Heavy



Elon Musk Explains Why SpaceX's Falcon Heavy Core Booster Crashed .
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter Monday (Feb. 12) to share some new details on last week's Falcon Heavy test flight, including why the massive rocket's core booster crashed. SpaceX is also building a new drone ship for rocket landings at sea, he added.When SpaceX's Falcon Heavy blasted off last Tuesday (Feb. 6) from NASA's Kennedy Space Center Pad 39A in Florida, the rocket's three first-stage boosters were expected to return to Earth and land much like the company's Falcon 9 rocket stages.

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