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Interesting 'decay' - 'Starman' just zipped past Mars in his rapidly-decaying Tesla
On Mon, 26 Oct 2020 08:55:45 -0700, a425couple
'Starman' just zipped past Mars in his rapidly-decaying Tesla Roadster
By Rafi Letzter - Staff Writer 5 days ago
He probably doesn't look so pretty anymore.
Starman sent pictures home before leaving Earth orbit.
(Image: © SpaceX)
Starman — the dummy riding a cherry-red Tesla Roadster through space —
has made his closest approach ever to Mars.
That electric convertible with its mannequin passenger bolted to the top
of a Falcon Heavy rocket as a stunt during the SpaceX rocket's first
test launch Feb, 6, 2018. (It's common for test launches to include
heavy payloads, but they're usually more boring than cherry-red
sportscars.) Two years later, the Falcon Heavy upper stage and the
vehicle at its tip are making their second trip around the sun. Jonathan
McDowell, a Harvard astrophysicist who tracks space objects as a side
project, found that Starman passed 4.6 million miles (7.4 million
kilometers) from Mars at 2:25 a.m. EDT Oct. 7. That's about 19 times the
distance from Earth to the moon, and 35 times closer than anyone on
Earth has gotten to Mars.
If we got as close as 34.8 million miles, then we were only 7.6 times
as far away, not 35 times.
(The closest recent approach between the two planets was 34.8 million
miles (56 million km) in 2003, according to World Atlas, though the
planets are often hundreds of millions of miles apart.)
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