Elon Musk's Floating Starman Finally 'Drove' by Mars
From popular mechanics
The orbiting Tesla Roadster came within 5 million miles of Mars, albeit the closest Earth is.
Earth and Mars have such different orbits that we are hardly ever that close together.
Starman has covered many millions of miles in the roadster.
Elon Musk's space-ready Tesla Roadster "flirted" with Mars for the first time, experts say, which is within 5 million miles, or about 0.05 astronomical units, of the red planet.
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In the Roadster, a Stig-like mannequin nicknamed Starman is apparently the first spacesuit to approach Mars. This bodes well for future spacesuits full of human people.
Right now Mars and Earth are very close to each other, more than they have been for another 15 years. The roadster, powered by the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket with power doping and following an independent orbit of the sun, accidentally merged with Earth and Mars during the tight brush - three ellipses crossed and hung out.
Starman will continue to fly as long as it remains in orbit after the fuel supply burns out at the start of the flight. Enthusiasts still hope that the Roadster and Starman's suit will be restored at some point, but that's a bit like playing an arcade claw machine game millions of kilometers away. Any recovery is likely to be an extreme accident rather than a destination.
In its long evolutionary history, Mars resembles a smaller Earth in many ways, with references to many of the same geophysical processes and the history of a molten, spinning dynamo core. However, our orbits never come closer than about 34 million miles apart, which means that Mars has always been in a significantly colder part of the solar system, at least 39 percent and as much as 67 percent further from the Sun than Earth.
However, the space between and around the two planets is basically the same: inhospitable cold and devoid of air and gravity. This means that Starman and the Roadster are essentially cryogenically preserved without factors such as humidity, different temperatures or caustic chemicals such as road salt.
The roadster goes nearly 55,000 mph, which sounds amazing until you remember the earth goes a cool 67,000 mph. In fact, the roadster's speed is almost equal to Mars' slower speed of 54,000 miles per hour. These extraordinary speeds show how special the merging of all three bodies in space really is.
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