SpaceX has updated the public about the journey of Starman, a mannequin sitting in the driver’s seat of a Tesla Roadster that has been roaming space for the past two years. It turns out Starman may outrun NASA, Roscosmos, and other space agencies and become the first "human" to land on Mars. SpaceX said Starman made its first approach to within 0.05 astronomical units, or under 5 million miles from the Red Planet.
Starman, last seen leaving Earth, made its first close approach with Mars today—within 0.05 astronomical units, or under 5 million miles, of the Red Planet pic.twitter.com/gV8barFTm7— SpaceX (@SpaceX) October 7, 2020
The post has since gone viral, with social media users bombarding SpaceX with questions and comments.
This is the moment that reality is cooler than fiction. I can watch this forever. pic.twitter.com/IGJyac4SRz— aida 🐉 (@groovemoonland) October 8, 2020
I still cannot get over the fact that Starman is sitting in a car out in space—let alone near Mars... pic.twitter.com/WtQ2xCxvKx— Smoking Elon (@IdiocracySpace) October 7, 2020
— Nemo (@Nemopr) October 7, 2020
Some users wanted Starman to take photos of Mars and wondered if the Tesla Roaster would able to land on the Red Planet.
Time to turn on that covert second battery that's been dormant, and take a sweet Mars photo... yeah?— Antony (@Antsmash) October 7, 2020
Can you land him on Mars? Do you have an Ace under the sleeve @SpaceX are you going to land the roadster and run it by remote control in the Mars Surface? That would be something.— Nemo (@Nemopr) October 7, 2020
Others worried about the car's rechargeable batteries and windows…
How will Starman deal with recharging his Tesla Roadster, once he gets to Mars? ;) Will Bowie be there to greet him with the latest Quickcharger ?? ;) I’m just sayin :)— Sigurður Kristinsson (@SiggiKristins) October 8, 2020
Let's hope the windows don't crack from a few stray meteorites— Dylan S (@MonkeyMaglc) October 8, 2020
Some netizens feared that Starman's journey could trigger war with an alien civilisation and berated the company for contributing to the problem of space debris.
When it starts a war with ET’s civilization, don’t say I didn’t warn you.— RUMBLELORD (Mike Fairbanks) (@RUMBLELORD) October 7, 2020
Dumping junk in space is just as bad as littering the streets on earth @elonmusk— philla morgan (@phillamorgan) October 8, 2020
Still others said they wish a real man was in the driver’s seat and assumed that in the future the car will be regarded as a museum piece
I have to admit, I kinda hoped some redneck had sneaked into the suit and went for one hell of a last ride.— Teammate Mark (@Mark_A_Longoria) October 7, 2020
The ultimate "Hold my beer and watch this!"
In the future, tourists and historians will rendezvous with Starman on it's solar orbit to witness this milestone in human engineering and exploration.— 3x3q (@3x3qu71v3) October 7, 2020
The Tesla Roadster was launched into space in February 2018 as a dummy load to test a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket. The car attached to the rocket’s second stage has already made a full trip around the Sun. Elon Musk, who heads both Tesla and SpaceX said that with this launch he wanted to inspire people about the "possibility of something new happening in space". SpaceX is now working on a programme to facilitate space travel in order to colonise other planets.