Feb. 7 (UPI) — SpaceX launched a cherry-red Tesla roadster and a mannequin driver into space along with its Falcon Heavy rocket on Tuesday.
A four-hour livestream chronicled the adventures of the mannequin, known as “Starman,” providing stunning images as it started on an elliptic orbit toward Mars — though it has exceeded the Mars orbit and is expected to head toward the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
Elon Musk, founder and CEO of both SpaceX and Tesla, said the car’s stereo was playing David Bowie‘s “Space Oddity,” as images from the livestream showed a message reading “DON’T PANIC” on the dashboard.
Earth loomed large in the background as the Roadster gently glided through space and its passenger, fitted with SpaceX’s new space suit, casually rested its left arm on the driver’s side door and right arm on the steering wheel.
Occasionally the earth drifted out of view and the Tesla’s bright paint job stood in contrast to the dark expanse of space.
Musk said the car and driver could be in a “hyperbolic orbit” for a billion years.
The Roadster is being carried by the second stage of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket, which the company hopes to implement in its plan to eventually transport both astronauts and citizens to the moon and Mars.