The SpaceX Tesla Roadster and mannequin-filled spacesuit "Starman" are officially very far away from Earth. SpaceX confirmed on Twitter Friday that the test payload for the Falcon Heavy rocket is beyond the orbit of Mars, and is at one of the farthest distances away from the Sun. Now that it's heading to its most distant point, the Roadster won’t be close to Earth again anytime soon.
Starman is expected to reach 155 million miles away from the Sun on Nov. 8th of this year. Currently, the Roadster is over 179,000,000 miles away from Earth, moving at a speed of 34,890 miles per hour away from our planet.
According to WhereIsRoadster.com, just a few days after the one year launch anniversary on Feb. 20, 2019, the SpaceX Roadster will reach its furthermost point away from Earth. When it starts to circle back around, it will actually get much closer to Mars than the initial drive-by, but that won’t happen until fall of 2020. In that following March, it will make it’s first close approach to Earth, but it won’t really come all that close—it could be as late as 2091 before there’s a truly close encounter with Earth, but don’t expect it to be plucked from space in our lifetime.
Fun fact: the Tesla Roadster has exceeded its 36,000-mile warranty over 10,000 times already. It’s accomplished all this in just under nine months since its February launch, putting enough mileage on the car to drive every road in the world over 16 times. And even though he’s an inanimate object, we feel bad for Starman if he’s had to listen to Space Oddity on loop this entire time.