Starman and his Tesla leave the Earth behind shortly after the launch of the top of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket on Feb. 6, 2018.
Elon Musk of space for the car is on the road to a hell of a crash, a few million years on the road, a new study suggests.
The Tesla Roadster and the driver, a mannequin with the name Starman, launched on the first flight of SpaceX’s huge Falcon Heavy rocket last week. The car is currently a loop around the sun in an elliptical orbit that goes a bit further than Mars is at its farthest point, and back to the Earth’s orbital distance from its neighbor.
A team of researchers wanted to know what the Roadster’s final fate, so they did a series of computer simulations with the tracking of the car’s path through the solar system over the next 3 million years. [In the Photo: SpaceX’s 1st Falcon Heavy Rocket Test Launch Success!]
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This modelling work gives the Roadster a 6 percent chance of crashing into Earth in the next 1 million years and 2.5 percent chance of hitting Venusduring that same trajectory. The car will probably slam into one of these two worlds at some point in the not too distant future (well, cosmologically speaking, anyway), the researchers said.
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“While we can’t tell what planet the car finally, we are comfortable to say that it does not survive in space for more than a few tens of millions of years,” lead author Hanno Rein, director of the University of Toronto Scarborough Centre for Planetary Science, said in a statement.
When that happens, most or all of the Tesla will burn up in the atmosphere, of the members of the team said.
If all of the uncertainty suggests, the orbits of small objects, such as electric cars are difficult to project so far into the future. The Tesla many gravitational encounters with the Earth in the coming centuries, for example, and it is unclear how this will shape his journey through the space.
“Depending on the details of these encounters, the Tesla can be kicked to a larger or smaller orbit, so it is random,” study co-author Dan Tamayo, also of the University of Toronto Scarborough, said in the same statement. “At the time, the job will have to undergo what is there of a random walk, similar to the fluctuations that we see in the stock market, that will allow it to wander of the inner solar system.”
The researchers have also determined that the space Tesla will be a relatively close to the Earth in 2091, within a few hundred thousand kilometers of the planet.
The new study will be submitted to the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, one of the researchers said. You can read it for free on the online preprint site arXiv.org.
Originally published on Space.com.