Elon Musk launches $200,000 car into space

 This image from video provided by SpaceX shows the company's spacesuit in Elon Musk's red Tesla sports car which was launched into space during the first test flight of the Falcon Heavy rocket on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018. (SpaceX via AP)

This image from video provided by SpaceX shows the company's spacesuit in Elon Musk's red Tesla sports car which was launched into space during the first test flight of the Falcon Heavy rocket on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018. (SpaceX via AP)

Full time entrepreneur and part time mad scientist Elon Musk surprised the world last Tuesday when he used SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket to launch a $200,000 car into space. The car was none other than a Tesla Roadster, “driven” by a mannequin that come complete with its very own space suit. According to Musk’s Instagram, the sports car will play David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” as it traverses outer space for millions of years to come. Finally, cameras were sent into orbit with the Roadster, capturing and live streaming its drive throughout the galaxy.

The Tesla Roadster was the payload for a test launch of the Falcon Heavy, one of the rockets from Musk’s SpaceX program. SpaceX was created by Elon Musk as a way to revolutionize space travel, with one of their major plans being the human colonization of Mars.

According to SpaceX’s website, the Falcon Heavy is an exceptionally powerful rocket that has the ability to bring nearly 141,000 lbs. into orbit. The Falcon Heavy engines creates more than five million pounds of thrust, which is equivalent to “approximately 18, 747 aircraft,” according to the SpaceX website. Musk had intended for the car traveling in the Falcon Heavy to orbit around Mars, but he announced on twitter that the Roadster had exceeded Mars Orbit and was now in the Asteroid Belt. The Falcon Heavy also reportedly made it back to earth and landed perfectly upright at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Traditionally, when rockets are sent into space for a test flight, they use concrete or steel blocks to simulate mass. This, of course, differs greatly from a bright red Tesla Roadster blasting David Bowie over the radio. On his Instagram, Musk said the reason why he decided to take the less traditional route was because “That seemed extremely boring. Of course, anything boring is terrible, especially companies, so we decided to send something unusual, something that made us feel.”

SpaceX is only one of Elon Musk’s many entrepreneurial endeavors. He is perhaps most well-known for his car company, Tesla, and as the former CEO of money transfer website, PayPal. Musk has also recently broken into the solar panel business through his company SolarCity, and of course has begun looking into the colonization of Mars via SpaceX. Musk is also using Space X to try and create what he calls a “Hyperloop,” which is basically a super-fast transport tunnel.

Elon Musk accomplished something that only a child would have ever thought to do, and it was absolutely stupendous. Not only was launching a $200,000 Tesla Roadster into space memorable, but it was fantastic advertising for two of Musk’s companies. Even though the Starman is no longer live streaming his trip throughout the galaxy, we can be sure that he will be floating around space for generations to come. Just remember that if you see a bright red sports car driving through space the next time you look through a telescope, you are not seeing things.


Lauren Brown is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at lauren.brown@uconn.edu.