I first need to know if starman is a real human or a robot. If he is a real human, how does he live? How many years can he live in that car?

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    $\begingroup$ Disagree with downvote and closevotes. This question is very basic but it's not actually very easy to find the answer, as sites like snopes address that the car is real. An explicit answer that starman is not a live human is useful for some. $\endgroup$
    – gerrit
    Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 18:31
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    $\begingroup$ @gerrit Not a super question, but worth answering. Also I got to make my joke, so I want to keep it. $\endgroup$
    – geoffc
    Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 18:46
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    $\begingroup$ @gerrit "... it's not actually very easy to find the answer..." I don't know. Is reading a single Wikipedia page before asking not considered doing minimal research? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcon_Heavy_test_flight#Payload $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 14:01
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    $\begingroup$ @gerrit Disagree - it's very very easy to find. Trilarion found it on Wikipedia. The BBC news article bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-42969020 also says this explicitly("A space-suited mannequin was strapped in the driver's seat..."). Seriously, this is a classic close. $\endgroup$
    – Graham
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 14:13
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    $\begingroup$ Surely this is a VTC because the answer is obvious / common sense. It's akin to asking if there's a small human being in a CPU whose superpower is to do maths very quickly... $\endgroup$
    – berry120
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 16:44

2 Answers 2


'Starman' is a mannequin (store dummy) wearing a real SpaceX developed space suit that was a qualification unit, used in designing the space suit for the Commercial Crew program.

During the SpaceX Grasshopper program, where they tested landing a first stage in McGregor Texas they mounted a dummy with a cowboy hat on the base of the Grasshopper vehicle.

enter image description here

Thus SpaceX has a history of employing dummies.

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    $\begingroup$ About the only dummy they do. $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 21:52
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    $\begingroup$ I wonder if the dummy from Grasshopper testing is the same one as Starman. $\endgroup$
    – TylerH
    Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 16:20
  • $\begingroup$ @TylerH I recall reading, but cannot find it now, that they employee 2 dummies! One is ok with heights, but likes the atmosphere. The other had a hankering for long lonely drives. They are very accommodating as employers, I suppose. $\endgroup$
    – geoffc
    Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 16:22

I first need to know if starman is a real human or a robot.

Starman is the name given to the mannequin/space suit occupying the driver's seat of the car. It is not human nor is it a robot.

If he is a real human, how does he live?

If it were human, the spacex suit is meant to be used pressurized. Details about the suit have not been provided other than it's designed to support brief depressurization events - emergencies, typically - that might be encountered in the Dragon spacecraft. It's not intended for spacewalks, moon walks, or mars use. Therefore it's unlikely to be equipped with means for eating or drinking, and diapers are likely to be used for urinating or defecating while in suit.

None of the images provided so far suggest a method or means to carry oxygen or power directly on the suit, or carbon scrubbing apparatus, so it's likely meant to be plugged into support systems.

How many years can he live in that car?

As long as the required supplies were available - air, energy to operate suit systems, etc - a human could survive for as long as one would on earth given lack of food and water. There's no evidence that the suit is connected to anything inside the vehicle, and no obvious support equipment for the suit, so unless it was very cleverly hidden there is no reason to believe that this could happen.

As such if there's a human in there they would live for a matter of minutes as the CO2 levels inside the suit rise to levels which would prevent normal respiration.

If they did hide support systems in the vehicle and connect to the suit through a hidden means, the supply of oxygen and power for the CO2 scrubbers would take up a lot of space, but without extensive engineering the total time would probably be measured in hours and days, and not weeks, months, or years. The lack of food and water may become an issue if the supplies lasted more than a few days.

We don't know anything about the heating/cooling capability of the suit, but if it doesn't manage temperature regulation then it's likely that a human passenger would die of temperature extremes in a matter of hours, possibly days depending on suit insulation.

Regarding cosmic radiation, once you leave the Earth's very protective magnetic field you start to receive gamma rays and other cosmic radiation. While this isn't insignificant, it isn't enough to result in illness or death more quickly than lack of food or water:

Estimates are that humans unshielded in interplanetary space would receive annually roughly 400 to 900 mSv (compared to 2.4 mSv on Earth) and that a Mars mission (12 months in flight and 18 months on Mars) might expose shielded astronauts to roughly 500 to 1000 mSv.[27] These doses approach the 1 to 4 Sv career limits advised by the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) for low Earth orbit activities in 1989, and the more recent NCRP recommendations of 0.5 to 2 Sv in 2000 based on updated information on dose to risk conversion factors.

However, you might start having your vision clouded as your eyes become damaged by the radiation. How quickly this happens, and whether it's effects are significant enough for you to notice is still unknown:

To date, however, the only pathology associated with space radiation exposure is a higher risk for radiation cataract among the astronaut corps.

Nonetheless, radiation is not going to kill a human in this situation, they would die of other causes first.

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    $\begingroup$ Additionally, solar radiation outside of Earth's protective magnetic field would gamma cook an exposed creature. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 22:28
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    $\begingroup$ @MarsJarsGuitars-n-Chars Solar radiation does that as soon as you reach out of the ionosphere. Once you get out of the magnetic field, charged particles add to that (the magnetic field does not directly help against solar radiation). $\endgroup$
    – gerrit
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 1:05
  • $\begingroup$ @gerrit deflection of incident radiation is a thing. It is a primary consideration when looking at extrasolar planets. You go in space you get cooked. ISS astronauts have a clock ticking. Starman is getting nuked. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 9:28
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    $\begingroup$ @djsmiley2k : Not really. What little material there is, is quite cold (~200K or less), but the problem is that there is so little of it that it very hard to get rid of heat from a spacesuit. An astronaut is more likely to cook than to freeze. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 12:30
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    $\begingroup$ How long can a mannequin survive, is the question! $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 20:59

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