SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, the most powerful rocket on Earth was launched on Tuesday from Cape Canaveral in Florida which was intended to put Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster on a path around Mars.
Although SpaceX’s CEO Elon Musk claimed that Falcon Heavy’s “destination is Mars orbit” the company had no plans of putting the car directly in an orbit around Mars, as that would have required in-space handling which the Tesla Roaster lacked equipments to do so.
Instead, the car was planned to be put on a path around the Sun from where it would had been taken to the orbit around Mars. However, it was a little heavy for the accelerator pedal and the Falcon Heavy went a little off course taking the Tesla to the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
Musk posted a diagram of the Roadster’s final orbit on Twitter and wrote that it “exceeded Mars orbit and kept going to the Asteroid Belt”. SpaceX has not released an official statement yet.
Third burn successful. Exceeded Mars orbit and kept going to the Asteroid Belt. pic.twitter.com/bKhRN73WHF
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 7 February 2018
By observing the diagram it looks like the red car will move further in the asteroid belt and will get fairly close to the minor planet Ceres. Astronomers and Space object trackers are still trying to know the exact position of the spacecraft.
It is unclear what exactly will happen to the Roadster. Musk, before the launch said that there were very rare chances of the vehicle to hit Mars, however now that the car is not on the planned path, it cannot be assumed what will be its fate. It might run into some other space object or just move deeper into the belt.
The successful launch and delivering of Tesla Roadster into space just indicated Falcon Heavy’s more than expected capabilities. Especially Tesla’s first six hours (that were streamed live by SpaceX) through the Van Allen radiation belt in the Earth’s magnetosphere would have definitely convinced the U.S Air Force to make use of the rocket in Future.
In addition to the slight change in course, another blip that occurred was on the landing. The Falcon Heavy consisted of three booster cores with their separate engines. The three cores were meant to be recovered back on different landing pads on Earth. The two side boosters, as planned, landed safely on the landing sites at Cape Canaveral, however, the middle one that was supposed to land on SpaceX’s floating landing platform (Of course I Still Love You), crashed somewhere in the Atlantic ocean at 300mph.