Tesla Starman

When I first saw the ‘Tesla Starman’ I thought it was some type of marketing stunt with a Telsa Car photoshop-ed onto an Earth orbit background.

Cars Out Of This World

On further reading into this amazing story, I found that it in fact was probably the most incredible marketing ploy in the history of the world, or at least since the ‘Ten Commandments’, but in this case it was all fair dinkum real.


I then watched an online video that showed the car and its ‘Starman’ passenger set against an almost full-disc Earth as it climbed to as high as 7,000 kilometers above the planet. That is one heck of a ‘roadtrip’!


I did not feel so bad about my moment of doubting its reality when I read the words of Elon Musk, the genius who put all of this together.


"You can tell it is real because it looks so fake," Musk said. "We'd have way better CGI (colour) if it was fake. The colors look kind of weird in space. There is no atmospheric occlusion. Everything is too crisp."

The Roadster was not modified, nor apparently tested, to guarantee its survival on its trip into deep space.

"We did not really test any of those materials for space. It just has the same seats that a normal car has. It is just literally a normal car — in space. And I just kind of like the absurdity of that," Musk said.

And as if a car in space was not enough of a spectacle, the Roadster carried with it a few subtle and not-so-subtle treats that the media are calling "Easter eggs."

Beginning with the ‘Starman’, the spacesuit worn by the mannequin was not a costume, but rather marked the first in-space use of a garment designed for NASA astronauts to wear on SpaceX's upcoming Dragon spacecraft crewed flights to the International Space Station.

"That is actually the production design. The real one looks just like that," described Musk. "In fact, that is one of the qualification articles. That is the real deal."

"I figure it is a dangerous trip, you want to look good," he said with a smile.

As the camera views changed from showing the Roadster from its side and front to a view looking over the Starman's shoulder, another detail was revealed — on the dash screen was a sign with a science fiction-inspired message.

Prior to the launch in December, Musk was asked on Twitter if the Roadster would contain a copy of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams.

"Yes," replied Musk, "plus a towel and a sign saying 'Don't Panic.'"

A more subtle, hidden message was shared by Musk on Instagram soon after the Roadster had entered space.

"Printed on the circuit board of a car in deep space," wrote Musk, captioning a photo of the inscription reading, "Made on Earth by humans."

The names of more than 6,000 of those humans, (SpaceX employees) were engraved onto a plaque mounted on the payload attach fitting, the structure that held the Roaster onto the Falcon Heavy's second stage.

Secured inside the Roadster is an Arch (pronounced "Ark"), a laser optical quartz storage device designed to survive the harsh environment of space. The disc was provided by the Arch Mission Foundation, whose stated goal is to "preserve and disseminate humanity's most important information across time and space, for the benefit of future generations."

"On the Arch that is being launched on Falcon Heavy (the rocket that carried it into space), the Foundation has stored Isaac Asimov's classic sci-fi series 'The Foundation Trilogy,' which was the original inspiration for the Arch Mission," said Lyons.

And then there is the Hot Wheels Roadster on the dash of the real Roadster.

"On the dashboard, there's a tiny Roadster with a tiny spaceman," Musk said. "Hot Wheels made a Hot Wheels Roadster and a friend of mine suggested why don't you put that Hot Wheels Roadster with a tiny spaceman on it in the car, too."

"It's kind of silly and fun, but silly and fun things are important," he said. "I think the imagery of it is something that is going to get people excited around the world."

It might also attract the attention of whoever encounters the car in millions, if not billions of years from now, postulated Musk.

"Maybe it'll be discovered by some future alien race thinking, 'What the heck were these guys doing? Did they worship this car?'" quipped Musk. "'Why do they have a little car in the car?' That will really confuse them.”

I can’t wait to see where Elon Musk takes his Space X next.



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