Elon Musk is sending his Tesla Roadster to Mars in SpaceX rocket

December 4, 2017 by  
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If you were a billionaire running multiple groundbreaking companies, why wouldn’t you send your personal car to space? That seems to be Elon Musk’s latest plan. In a recent tweet, Musk said when SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket launches from Cape Canaveral next month, the payload will include his own Tesla Roadster playing David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” on repeat – because why not? Musk is having way too much fun with his companies. SpaceX is slated to launch the Falcon Heavy for the first time next month, a rocket newsworthy in its own right for being “the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two,” according to SpaceX . As opposed to the Falcon 9’s nine Merlin engines, the Falcon Heavy is equipped with 27. Musk’s first tweet about the launch guaranteed excitement “one way or another.” Related: SpaceX to launch reused rocket in a historic first for NASA Falcon Heavy to launch next month from Apollo 11 pad at the Cape. Will have double thrust of next largest rocket. Guaranteed to be exciting, one way or another. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 2, 2017 Payload will be my midnight cherry Tesla Roadster playing Space Oddity. Destination is Mars orbit. Will be in deep space for a billion years or so if it doesn’t blow up on ascent. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 2, 2017 Around five minutes later on Twitter , Musk said he’s sending own midnight cherry Tesla Roadster to Mars . A red car for a red planet, Musk said – and it “will be in deep space for a billion years or so if it doesn’t blow up on ascent.” Naturally people wondered if the billionaire known for his sense of humor was joking – but Bloomberg reported earlier this morning a “person familiar with the launch plan at SpaceX” confirmed Musk’s tweet. So Musk may not be joking after all, but he’s sure having a grand time envisioning his Roadster among the stars. A Twitter user named d00d asked Musk why he wants to send his car to space, and he responded , “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.” Don’t we all. Via Bloomberg Images via Wikimedia Commons and Brian Solis on Flickr

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Elon Musk is sending his Tesla Roadster to Mars in SpaceX rocket

NASA communicates with spacecraft 13 billion miles from Earth

December 4, 2017 by  
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For the first time in 37 years, NASA has communicated with Voyager 1 – which is 13 billion miles away from Earth. The space agency made contact with the spacecraft to reorient it and activate its back-up thrusters to better send information back to Earth. Launched in 1977, Voyager 1 is the only known spacecraft cruising beyond our solar system. Prior to leaving, Voyager 1 and its sister ship Voyager 2 gathered, then transmitted to Earth, the first detailed data from Jupiter , Saturn and Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. NASA’s most recent communication with the spacecraft has made adjustments to its alignment, which should extend its usable life by two to three years as it continues its flight into new interstellar territory. Voyager 1 still communicates with scientists on Earth through the Deep Space Network, a communications system designed in the 1970s that allowed the most recent adjustments to Voyager 1’s trajectory to occur. Voyager 1 has primarily used its main thrusters, which periodically make adjustments to the spacecraft’s flight path to ensure optimum functionality. However, over the years, the main thrusters have become worn down, requiring the earthbound team to turn to Voyager 1’s back-up thrusters, which had not been used since 1980.  “The Voyager flight team dug up decades-old data and examined the software that was coded in an outdated assembler language, to make sure we could safely test the thrusters,” said Chris Jones, chief engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Related: SpaceX to launch reused rocket in a historic first for NASA Despite its long hibernation, Voyager 1’s back-up thruster system returned to duty without major incident. “The Voyager team got more excited each time with each milestone in the thruster test,” said Todd Barber, propulsion engineer at JPL. The mood was one of relief, joy and incredulity after witnessing these well-rested thrusters pick up the baton as if no time had passed at all.” The team intends to conduct the same operation with Voyager 2, which is expected to leave the solar system within the next few years. Via Science Alert Images via Kevin Gill/Flickr   (1) and NASA

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NASA communicates with spacecraft 13 billion miles from Earth

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