Earlier this month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy will have a payload on its maiden launch that will be none other than his very own Cherry Red Tesla Roadster. Musk fans were convinced that the SpaceX CEO’s tweet was a mere joke, but as it turns out, however, the serial tech entrepreneur was dead serious about sending his prized Roadster on a Mars-bound voyage.
In fact, we might have just gotten the first picture of Musk’s actual Tesla Roadster 1.0 on what appears to be Falcon Heavy’s payload attach fitting. While the authenticity of the image could not be confirmed as of writing, the PAF, together with the way the Roadster was positioned in the photograph, seems to indicate that the leaked picture might indeed be real. The way the Roadster is mounted in the payload attach fitting, after all, optimizes overall weight distribution.
Updated: Elon Musk shares official photos of his Cherry Red Tesla Roadster
As of writing, very little is known about Falcon Heavy’s maiden launch. So far, Elon Musk has announced that SpaceX is attempting to hit its goal of launching the world’s most powerful rocket sometime January 2018. Apart from this, details of the upcoming mission have not been publicly released.
In a lot of ways, the image of Musk’s Roadster being prepared for its upcoming space flight invites a lot of speculation. For one, it seems like Musk is planning on keeping the car on its pedestal until the payload reaches orbit and detaches from Falcon Heavy’s second stage. This would keep the vehicle in place as it begins its long journey through space.
Thus, from what could be inferred in the image, it seems like Musk’s plan is to send his Tesla Roadster into space, have it float in deep space, and hopefully, watch it enter Mars orbit.
Musk has provided some other interesting tidbits of information about the car’s upcoming journey. In a series of responses to his initial announcement about his Roadster’s journey into space, Musk stated that the vehicle would carry some amusing items from Earth, among them a copy of Douglas Adams’ “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” a towel, and a sign that says “Don’t Panic.” The CEO also stated that a track of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” would play in the Roadster 1.0 during its journey.
As for why SpaceX is sending Tesla’s first electric car into space on Falcon Heavy’s maiden mission, the rationale seems to have been revealed by the CEO as well. Responding to a Twitter user who asked why the space firm selected such a unique payload for SpaceX’s largest rocket, Musk simply stated that he loves the entire idea.
I love the thought of a car drifting apparently endlessly through space and perhaps being discovered by an alien race millions of years in the future
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 2, 2017
Again, Musk’s statement almost sounds like a jest; but if there’s anything that Tesla and SpaceX enthusiasts can agree on, it is the fact that when Elon Musk jokingly announces something, there is a good chance that he is actually serious.