SpaceX sent a Tesla sports car into space

By on Wednesday, February 7, 2018

News of a cherry-red Tesla sports car floating in space is in every paper and on every TV show on earth this morning.

There’s a space-suited mannequin into strapped in the driver’s seat, and the car stereo is playing a David Bowie soundtrack on a loop.

Space exploration (and car marketing) has never been this spectacular or showbiz.

This is the new Space Age.

Yesterday US entrepreneur Elon Musk has launched his new rocket, the Falcon Heavy, from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

“Red car for red planet” is what Elon Musk tweeted several months ago when this whole project was coming together. Musk is the founder of SpaceX. Tesla is his car company.

It was billed as a risky test flight in advance of the lift-off.

Even Musk, ringmaster of the space circus, was surprised that his audacious stunt worked. “Apparently, there is a car in orbit around Earth,” he tweeted.

As well going down as the greatest automotive brand PR stunt in history – the vehicle does serve an actual purpose. When new rockets are tested, they often carry a demonstration cargo load.

But Musk thought a load of steel blocks would be just too boring, so instead he sent up a Tesla Roadster.

A sign in the car read: “Don’t panic!” and Bowie’s “Life on Mars?” played in the background. A Hot Wheels roadster was also on the dashboard with a tiny spaceman on board.

Bonnie Malkin in The Guardian writes; “The photograph was beamed down to Earth courtesy of Elon Musk’s ego, bravado and taste for the absurd. It is human folly and genius rolled into one, a picture that sums up 2018 so far. Life on Earth feels precarious, so we look to the stars.”

CNN said; “It got everybody’s blood pumping, inspired generations of schoolchildren throughout the world to dream big and aim high, though there were just as many people complaining about the cost to the taxpayer.”

SpaceX hopes that a version of the same rocket can be used to carry humans to the moon and Musk’s Tesla will now float between Earth and Mars for as long as a billion years.

“It seems surreal to me,” Mr. Musk said during a news conference after the launch.

“It’s kind of silly and fun, but silly and fun things are important,” Mr. Musk said.

I couldn’t agree more.

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