Parting is such sweet sorrow. This Valentine’s Day, you can wave a final goodbye to Elon Musk’s red Tesla Roadster as it starts to fade beyond the view of smaller telescopes.
From 7:15 a.m. ET on Wednesday, the Virtual Telescope Project (VTP) will live stream the car as it sinks into deep space. Billed as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, telescopes will capture the tail end of the car’s more easily visible journey.
VTP astrophysicist Gianluca Masi told Newsweek: “As of now, the Tesla is gradually leaving us—constantly fading. In a couple of weeks or so, it will require large telescopes to be seen.”
SpaceX launched Musk’s personal Tesla Roadster sports car into space on its Falcon Heavy rocket February 9. The vehicle overshot its expected goal, sending the car beyond Mars's orbit.
Masi and colleague Michael Schwartz have caught a few glimpses of the car in recent days from the Tenagra Observatories in Arizona. Just a tiny dot among a sea of stars, the car will soon melt even further into obscurity.
Piloted by “Starman,” a space-suited mannequin presumably referencing the David Bowie song of the same name, Elon Musk hopes the car will travel through space for more than a billion years.
As of Monday at noon ET, the sports car was approximately 1.1 million miles away, Masi said. That's around five times as distant as the moon.
The car is set to travel much further away from Earth on its voyage. Masi explained: “Looking at its orbit, the greatest distance between the Earth's and Tesla Roadster's orbits is around 250 million miles.”
For SpaceX fans, this could be the last chance to catch a glimpse of the space car for some time. “We will have to wait for decades before the Tesla will have an interesting, new close approach with the Earth, so these days truly are a precious opportunity for those wishing to see the Tesla.”
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