Featured Image for This website allows you to track Elon Musk’s car as it travels through space

This website allows you to track Elon Musk’s car as it travels through space

Elon Musk’s SpaceX achieved a major milestone earlier this month with the successful launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket.

Getting a huge rocket to go on your first try isn’t easy (ask Kim Jong Un), but much of the media was focused on the special payload the Falcon Heavy was carrying: Musk’s red Tesla, complete with a mannequin named “Starman” and a David Bowie soundtrack.

There are many possible interpretations of Starman’s joyride in space. The Verge has suggested that it’s either an average work of art or the greatest car ad ever. It could also be symbolic of a new era of space travel.

We’ve already lost our visual of the Roadster, which Musk said was leaving Mars’ orbit on a path to an asteroid belt.

But if you still want to keep tabs on what it is up to, you can track Starman’s journey on a fan-made site called whereisroadster.com.

The site, which is unabashedly simple in its design, is the work of Ben Pearson, a self-described space nerd, amateur radio broadcaster, android programmer and game developer.

The current location of the Roadster is about 3.5 million kilometres from Earth and counting, according to the site, which features a live chart of the Roadster’s progress.

The Roadster is moving away from Earth and towards Mars at a speed of about 69,000 km an hour, meaning that it has passed its warranty and is officially the fastest car ever (kind of).

The site uses data from NASA’s JPL Horizons, an online solar system data and computation service that provides key data on objects in our solar system.

Pearson is also working on a 3D simulated view of the Roadster, but says he is having trouble getting the Starman in there. He’s also selling some merch, but he deserves it after all the hard work and calculations he poured into the site, to be honest.

Pearson’s other main project is Colonial Sea Trader, a historically based game of sea trading (what else?). He has diligently told the project’s 22 Facebook followers that he will be taking a short break from Colonial Sea Trader to work on whereisroadster. What a champ.

As a reward for his efforts, Pearson has also had a link to his site tweeted by the big man himself:

According to whereisroadster, Musk’s car hasn’t made it to the asteroid belt and will remain close to Mars all the way up to at least November 10, 2020, where the simulation ends.

Another estimate predicts that there is a 6% chance the Roadster will crash into Earth in the next 3.5 million years.

About the author

Stefan is an Adelaide-based freelance writer. In his spare time, he plays tennis badly, collects vinyl and brushes up on his Mandarin. Follow Stefan on Twitter

Leave a comment