The car is on the sun side of space as seen by the lens flare. This means that the car will absorb high amounts of radiation, heating the car up to well over 250 degrees Celsius . A car windscreen will start to crack at around 120 degrees Celsius , most certainly not surviving at 250 degrees Celsius . Satellites need special radiators and a special covering because of these high temperatures, but this car has nothing to help with the dispersal of heat.The car is also traveling through space at over 12 miles per second. But the car's windscreen does not have a crack even after four hours. Also if the car is spinning as mentioned (shadow cools in space / sun heats up) wouldn't this create another problem, the windscreen would be in thermal expansion on one side, and contraction on the other, so why doesn't it crack and break?

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    $\begingroup$ "we are told that space has hot and cold spots or very high and very low temperature's every 20 miles or so" find out who told you this, and never listen to them again. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Feb 12 '18 at 16:27
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    $\begingroup$ Black parts would heat up very much by the radiation of the Sun. But the windscreen is not black, it is colorless and transparent and will absorb very few radiation and thus heat up much less. $\endgroup$ – Uwe Feb 12 '18 at 16:32
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    $\begingroup$ @Mitch are you maybe misremembering about the thermal layers of atmosphere instead of space vacuum? $\endgroup$ – jkavalik Feb 12 '18 at 16:42
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    $\begingroup$ Citation needed on those low levels of windshield heat tolerance. Car interiors can rapidly heat up on many occasions to quite high temperatures, and 120 F is not at all out of the question. For that matter, there are some areas of the world that get over 110 F fairly frequently. $\endgroup$ – Nathan Tuggy Feb 12 '18 at 17:55
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    $\begingroup$ @Mitch because electronics need lower temperatures to work and they heat up when working. And to get rid of that heat the radiators are needed and they are big specifically because they are not very effective. $\endgroup$ – jkavalik Feb 12 '18 at 19:45

The Tesla Roadster is not experiencing 250°C temperatures.

This answer to another question shows that in Earth orbit it will be just over 0°C, similar to you and me:

What's the typical temperature of a satellite orbiting the Earth?

The key plot from that answer shows that out near Mars it will be around -80°C

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    $\begingroup$ I am really unsure about this, that seems to be the main problem regarding physics and space. There is so much conflicting information by so called experts in these fields, when you look deeper into the issues none of it makes any sense. $\endgroup$ – Mitch Feb 13 '18 at 15:24
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    $\begingroup$ @Mitch If your "expert" truly told you the "We are told that space has hot and cold spots or very high and very low temperatures every 20 miles or so" bit, you need better experts. I think you're misremembering a discussion of how satellites can rotate slowly to even out heating. $\endgroup$ – ceejayoz Feb 13 '18 at 16:03
  • $\begingroup$ @ceejayoz, I remember reading this on a different site, by someone who did appear to know what they were on about, however this is not the only conflicting information I have read regarding space or physics. To be perfectly honest, if you look at the answers I have been given above, against some of the other answers on similar subjects across this site, you will also find much conflicting information on the heating and cooling properties of space. This makes it difficult for a person of my limited knowledge to find who is giving good information or who maybe giving bad. $\endgroup$ – Mitch Feb 13 '18 at 16:55
  • $\begingroup$ @Mitch Simple solution: prioritize information from verifiable experts, peer-reviewed scientific sources, etc. over random people on the internet. $\endgroup$ – ceejayoz Feb 13 '18 at 16:56
  • $\begingroup$ ceejayoz, would you say this following info is correct - unbelievably extreme temperature swings. Just past Earth's upper atmosphere, the number of gas molecules drops precipitously to nearly zero, as does pressure. This means there is almost no matter to transfer energy -- but also no matter to buffer direct radiation streaming from the sun. This solar radiation heats the space near Earth to 393.15 kelvins (120 degrees Celsius or 248 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher, while shaded objects plummet to temperatures lower than 173.5 kelvins (minus 100 degrees Celsius) $\endgroup$ – Mitch Feb 13 '18 at 17:32

It doesn't crack or break, because it's made of inorganic material. Chemist Richard Sachleben states in this article from Life Science Will SpaceX roadster survive Space that it will take a long time for the windshield to discolor and come apart relative to any organic material in the car (leather seats, rubber tires) and will only start to do so as the plastic in the windshield starts to decay. He believes the organics will last around a year, but gives no specific guess on the glass.

  • $\begingroup$ I don't think this answers the question. It wasn't about ongoing material degradation caused by vacuum/radiation - it was about rapid thermal cycling. Take a glass pan from the oven immediately into some cold water and it'll shatter, inorganic or otherwise. I don't think the Tesla is undergoing the rapid cycles OP thinks it is, but that's another issue. $\endgroup$ – ceejayoz Feb 13 '18 at 16:01
  • $\begingroup$ The OP asked why the windshield doesn't crack or break. I found what little science has been printed on this issue. If the exposure to the hypothetical temperature extremes doesn't shatter the window in the first few moments of it's flight, then the clock of degradation starts ticking. Yes I avoid the conversation of hypothetical temperature issues and instead supply evidence against the title of the question. IF the title had include ...because of temp swings, I would not have added my answer. $\endgroup$ – Rickest Rick Feb 13 '18 at 16:17
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    $\begingroup$ "It doesn't crack or break, because it's made of inorganic material" Does this mean that metal or glass never cracks or breaks? $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Feb 17 '18 at 17:18
  • $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble good question. No we know that glass and metals crack and break all the time, but the roadster won't due to it just being out in space. HOWEVER,... if the windshield were to be struck by a micrometeorite, it would almost definitely crack, break, shatter, shimmy, and shake; But it probably won't salsa, do the robot, or the robo boogie, but of course, contradictory evidence is always welcome. $\endgroup$ – Rickest Rick Feb 19 '18 at 15:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Mitch Does this answer your question? $\endgroup$ – Rickest Rick Mar 8 '18 at 16:48

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