Dust, meteorites and cosmic rays will destroy the outer Tesla


Thanks to the successful launch of the Falcon Heavy on Tuesday, SpaceX sent the cherry Tesla Roadster into space along with the driver-the dummy in the suit, SpaceX. What’s next? Now this Roadster is directed towards the orbit of Mars, but in the future can return to the Ground — close enough that he can see fans of the telescopes, said Tom Narita, an astrophysicist at the College of the Holy cross in Massachusetts. And after a collision with high-speed space dust and radiation of cosmic rays Roadster will look a little different than during startup.

When I get back Roadster? It is difficult to say. If nothing will knock it from the current orbit, the vehicle must make a loop around the sun and return to the same neighborhood, which started about two and a half years. We, humans, did not see, because we will be on the other side of the sun. In five years — well, Narita noted that the exact evaluation is difficult to call, because we do not know the current trajectory of the machine. Unplanned trajectory Roadster can output the unexpected orbit. Also the trajectory can affect the degassing, said Ron Turner, senior science Advisor of the Institute for advanced concepts NASA.

“The car has air, says Turner. In the vacuum of space, any gases in the armrests of the seats, doors, glove box and even in the shell of the steering wheel, all of these gases and water vapor from the Earth’s atmosphere will eventually come out”.

And when these gases are released, they are Roadster’m gonna push them in different directions. Turner believes that in five years we will again see the Roadster, but these five years will turn into seven and a half, ten or even eleven. See we’re right, the question is when and at what orbit.

How will he look like?

Most likely, a little weather-beaten. “Imagine that you found an artifact, some “Titanic” in the ocean. Of course, he will not remain in its original form.”

Roadster will be torn to pieces by two things. The first is a constant “sandblasting” by micrometeorites processing, which are carried through space with great speed. “These tiny grains of dust weighing fractions of a gram slam into a car at a speed of 20 kilometers per second,” says Turner. “They will evaporate and wash away the paint and leave marks on the metal.” After ten years Tesla will lose its intense cherry color.”

The second force that will act on the car, is radiation. “Everything about plastic or rubber, will deteriorate due to cosmic radiation because the energy of cosmic rays breaks chemical bonds,” says Narita. The radiation badly affects carbon bonds, for example, plastic and rubber. “The metal structure itself will be fine and will live hundreds of thousands of years.” But the plastic and rubber parts of the car like steering wheel and seats will be devoured by radiation.

Also the car has the chance to crash into something bigger, though very small. In the empty space much more than we think. Even in the asteroid belt a small chance of something to face. But if the car still will collide with an asteroid, that’s it.


Although the Tesla Roadster, sent into space, unlikely to collide with an asteroid, it will be much worse for wear upon returning home.

“One day someone will find a relic resembling a car or a piece of metal, a little powdered with crushed plastic and rubber,” says Narita. “But by that time it will be an inert piece of space junk.”

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Dust, meteorites and cosmic rays will destroy the outer Tesla
Ilya Hel