Nodder Experts! Roadster orbiting


Elon Musk posts final photo of Tesla Roadster headed to asteroid belt

Elon Musk’s launch this week brings up some interesting questions! I turn to my Nodder friends, and Tn staff, for your expert opinions. First, the link above shows a video, in v-e-r-y s-l-o-w motion, of the Roadster. Very interesting images!!

So first, on which side of the trajectory “route” should he be driving? Left? Right?

Second, they were worried that the car might “ding” Mars if it got too close. Brings up an interesting question-- Do cars floating in space need vehicular insurance? Full Comprehensive? Or just the minimum? They claim the car could orbit millions of years. So will someone need to pay insurance premiums every year??

Third, there’s a mannequin behind the wheel… So, if he becomes “detached” somehow and dislodged from the car, is that vehicular homicide? or Suicide by Space or suicide from ‘jumping’ out of a car? I’m so confused! The rules have changed!

Fourth, does an orbiting roadster need a name change, from roadster to… ??

Fifth, will an orbiting car get space dirt? Will it need a “car wash” (if one existed, that is)?

Now they are saying it is headed toward the asteroid belt. Why didn’t Elan outfit the car as if a gameboy so someone on Earth could use a joy stick to navigate through that area? That would be kewl! Anyway, how many game points should be assigned if the car does get hit?

I am wondering other things… like… does the car have an engine? fully functional car? If so, and it gets hit, will it explode?

And, please tell me, is Hubble Telescope capturing the car’s journey? I hope, I hope!

Can WV3 “turn” and scan the car? :smiley:


Now that one would be so cooool :smiley:


Definitely on the left! :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:
OK, I’m slightly biased there, to be fairer, is the car left-hand or right-hand drive?

Probably hadn’t thought of that, but what if it hits a passing satellite in the future?

That would have to be “mannecide” or “dummycide”, surely?

Orbster? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Wow, those would be some pictures worth seeing! :smiley:


A good (?) publicity stunt for the real star of the event, the launch of the Falcon Heavy and Elon Musk’s space program. Not sure if I like another piece of space junk out there. Imagine if the car collided with something it shouldn’t have hit like the Mars satellites. I am a big fan of space exploration, but this was a bit over the top for me.


How about right down the middle?


Did you know that driving on the left side dates back to the Roman times? The warriors would hold the reins to steer their chariots with their left hand and to the left of their enemies. This let them use their sword in their right hand to hack away at their enemies with their stronger right arm. :wink:


Has be been fined for littering space?


That’s probably one thing he didn’t think about… just figured that eventually it was fall back into the atmosphere and burn up. Only problem is that while it’s in orbit, other rockets have to be steered clear of it in their launch trajectories and it’s just one more piece of “space junk” whirling around our planet. I’ve seen pictures (some artists’ perceptions) of what it looks like (Earth from space) - a planet with an orbiting junk yard. Sad…


They did plan it… (plan et)… anyway, the roadster isn’t in oribit around Earth… but around the Sun I believe…
should go to the fiery furnace someday… Musk probably figured it wouldn’t get to space at all being a test flight.


Isn’t it time we had an international agreement which required that anything launched into space had an agreed and viable plan for its return to earth for recovery and disposal before the launch was allowed. Also huge cash deposits before launch only returned when recovery and disposal was complete. It might hurt space users - including DG - in the short term but might mean that there is a long term future for the industry.


Oops! Beaten to it by Doug4. But is littering the sun any better than littering earth?


No it isn’t… but there are concerns about mis-stating facts… as well.

Before I forget… Hi there…!

And now… re your International Agreement… they have had several agreements regarding orbiting objects and even simple launches… for many years… it was written in that all parties would have to design in either de-orbit methods and/ or self destruct provisions that would be effective in reducing space junk to smaller bits…

The preferred method was a means of a controlled re-entry into a safe area. Destruction was not a first choice but could be used to reduce the mass of the object re-entering the atmosphere… that is a late re-entry separation of solar panels etc… that were helping provide drag in the higher levels and higher speeds…
Then they can return and let higher drag reduce them to fragments… bigger items can also be blown off taking mass with them… several have made it to the ground mostly intact… which might indicate a need for further thinking… but the low mass, high velocity things like living spaces or instrument bays hit fast and burn up pretty well… I’m not an expert though… just what I’ve seen on news and what makes sense… really a matter of the physics I guess… reduce momentum, increase drag and so forth… but the controlled re-entry is the best route for the giant objects… and no further uncontrolled entries are allowed since the Chinese Space Station event… which was built long before the agreement…


Yes, Hi there!

Interesting comments. I was unaware of these agreements. Do they have decent “teeth” and are they policed and enforced?

I don’t think that burning up in the upper atmosphere is acceptable. Isn’t it just producing invisible litter which is out of sight and out of mind but is nevertheless polluting the upper atmosphere? We already know - from things like the “ozone hole” - that the chemistry of the upper atmosphere is complex and delicate; it’s also very important to life on earth.


I’m sure it does produce the invisible litter you mention. Just because a large piece of junk “burns up” doesn’t mean that there’s nothing left of it. Of course there is - in one form or another! Same as with “environmentally safe” chemicals they make for weed/pest control. It was found out that these “long chain” molecules break down into smaller chain molecules that are similar - if not just as dangerous - to the unsafe chemicals they were to replace. I don’t think there has ever been anything that man made that wasn’t harmful to the fine balance nature had in place. What especially worries me is the hype over carbon dioxide and little public mentioning of the more severe danger methane is causing to our atmosphere. It’s almost like the difference an ice cube and an ice berg, with CO2 being the ice cube and methane being the ice berg. Our planet and the air we breathe is becoming more and more poisoned. The flora and fauna around the world is telling us - we’re just not listening (or most of us anyway). “Life goes on” as they say, but it will be hardy insects, viruses and bacteria that will be the most successful over time. Look how we’re struggling with disease now. Image how bad off humans are going to be in the future - even in the next 100 years. Either we develop cast iron lungs to handle the poison air, or we perish. I know that’s a worse cast scenario, but still, I fear our future generations are going to be the worse off for our inaction as a race.


You know, now I’m not sure which he sent it to. If it were the sun, I’m sure the sun doesn’t need a sudden jump in different metals/plastics to act as a catalyst that it didn’t have before. All elements change and break down or combine into into other elements under such heat and pressure - with the exception of gold, I believe. Are we now to begin the pollution of our own star? :roll_eyes: Sometimes to knock something over, all it takes is a flick of the wrist. Let’s hope we don’t do that to the sun.

Edit: After reading this topic from the beginning, I realized/realised that the car was headed to Mars - and eventually the sun? I wonder if it has its 4-way flashers on. :thinking: :laughing:


HI again… glad we just had flurries today… I’m sore from shoveling… so humour me… ha…
Because the bigger snowfall hasn’t materialized yet.

I looked for ‘agreements for the controlled re entry of satellites’ or some such and found that there are several inter space agency agreements on that… mostly written as best practices since non of it is law… other than moral positioning… that is, that no one really wants anyone else to drop a big one on anyone else, accidentallly or on purpose… that would lead to really big repercussions . They may have a more formalized form now… the net lags a bit…

As people point out regularly a single volcano erupting for a few minutes blows out more pollutants than the world sees in a year… except that we see more than that each year… but it matters what and where…
ash and dust have a big effect on temperature etc… and in days rather than years…

That does not mean we need to ignore other sources… just put it in perspective… burning a 100 year old tree is not the same as burning an equivalent amount of coal or oil that hasn’t been seen for millions of years… carbon in the tree was just stored the fossil fuel might as well be brand new product… and won’t likely go away any time soon…

As for the Starman and his Tesla… I just went over and looked for the most recent reports…

I found this from November 3, 2018… and it states that the Tesla and ‘driver’ will be in the clear for a long time… from just outside the orbit of Mars to just inside the orbit of Earth… over and over…
They were testing as many things as they could on that launch and having some fun…

Starman and Tesla roadster. status

And now I’m going to hunt some food and ingest it… might even dare to go out and see if anything can be done that will be useful before 6am… I doubt it though… and the plow should come to mess it up again anyway…


So that just one more piece of junk that has to be tracked - for who knows how long… :face_with_raised_eyebrow: