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During it first closest approach to Mars, it was a mere 5 million miles away from the red planet. According to observer.com, it's ultimate fate will be to crash into the Earth or Venus. However, since it is in a Mars crossing orbit, it may eventually encounter Mars. However, obviously, if it has crashed it can not encounter Mars. So, will Roadster ever encounter Mars?

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  • $\begingroup$ whereisroadster.com $\endgroup$ Jun 24 at 22:24
  • $\begingroup$ That is the first place that I checked. Didn't give me anything useful. $\endgroup$ Jun 24 at 22:25
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    $\begingroup$ The precise numerical simulation of the trajectory of the Roadster under the influence of the Sun, Earth, Venus, Mercury and Jupiter and Saturn over a very, very long time is impossible. So we can't know if the Roadster will ever encounter Mars after a million, billion or trillion of years. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Jun 24 at 22:29
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    $\begingroup$ Well, what about within the time that we can predict? @Uwe $\endgroup$ Jun 24 at 22:30
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    $\begingroup$ The Starman has Horizons id -143205. You can make distance plots using the link in my answer here: astronomy.stackexchange.com/a/49267/16685 (Mars has id 499). $\endgroup$
    – PM 2Ring
    Jun 25 at 0:32

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The Roadster will have a close encounter with Earth in 2091 which will alter its orbit, but it is very hard to predict exactly where it will end up as its orbit will be somewhat chaotic due to the gravitational influence of Venus, Earth and Mars. Calculations suggest that the Roadster will remain in orbit for tens of millions of years before hitting a planet.

There is a 6% chance of it hitting Earth and a 2.5% chance of hitting Venus in the next million years. After 3 million years, the odds of an Earth crash rise to 10%. In the longer term, the Roadster has a 50% chance of lasting a few tens of millions of years.

Don't panic: The chance of this space-traveling sports car hitting Earth is just 6% in the next million years

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  • $\begingroup$ Question, how close will it get? @Slarty $\endgroup$ Jun 24 at 22:48
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    $\begingroup$ Probably a little closer than the Moon and observable with a good telescope. $\endgroup$
    – Slarty
    Jun 25 at 13:23
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    $\begingroup$ If I'm understanding the Rein et al. article correctly, they ran 240 long-term simulations and none of them resulted in a collision with Mars, which the authors say "is statistically consistent with the conclusion that at most a few percent of realization will impact Mars or Mercury." So it's possible for it to hit Mars, but quite unlikely. $\endgroup$ Jun 25 at 16:46
  • $\begingroup$ That is odd considering it is launch on a Mars-aiming trajectory $\endgroup$ Jun 26 at 12:11
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    $\begingroup$ It's a little strange, but the trajectory will be continually adjusted by gravitational effects especially during close approaches. It is possible that the 2091 close approach (or even some other approach) might totally redirect it. $\endgroup$
    – Slarty
    Jun 26 at 20:20

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