If Asteroids Don't Destroy Elon Musk's Space Tesla, Radiation Will, Experts Say

Courtesy @elonmusk                                             
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The launch drew massive worldwide audiences-but while it was an wonderful event to witness, there are some important potential drawbacks that must be considered as we assess the impact of this mission on space exploration.

SpaceX Chairman Elon Musk refers to Falcon Heavy as the "Big F***ing Rocket", or "BFD", because it has the capability of lifting 140,700 pounds of payload into space.

The SpaceX Falcon Heavy launched from Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on February 6, 2018, on its demonstration mission.

But beyond the mechanical architecture of the launch, and its high-degree of difficulty, the launch provided the artful inspiration Musk has pursued for years.

Thousands of onlookers in Florida could be heard cheering on the company's livestream, which was viewed by about 3 million people. "When I see the rocket lift off, I see, like, 1,000 things that could not work and it's wonderful when they do".

The rocket's smooth takeoff wasn't the only stunning thing about this launch. After the burst of flame and smoke from the pad, two of the three boosters returned to Earth, landing side-by-side on a pair of pads along the coastline, touching down in unison, like a pair of synchronized swimmers. NASA uses an even bigger and more expensive rocket, the Space Launch System. Two touched down on land in tandem; the third center core that was slated to settle on an unmanned drone ship ran out of propellant needed to slow down the descent and slammed into the ocean instead.

A mannequin wearing a spacesuit sat behind the wheel of the Tesla that was launched into space on Tuesday from the Kennedy Space at Cape Canaveral, FL. After a successful takeoff and some breathtaking views from Tesla's livestream, there was one more propulsion phase of the plan to send the auto, playing David Bowie's "Space Oddity", to its destination. Apparently, there is a auto in orbit around Earth.

Batteries powering the camera views of the Roadster were only expected to last about 12 hours, so they won't provide close-up views of the vehicle near Mars or an asteroid, but that was never the idea.

The second stage successfully completed two firings, placing the Tesla Roadster into a temporary Earth orbit.

Even if the Roadster avoids any major collisions on its journey, the billion year orbit will most likely be cut short by intense space radiation.

Tuesday's success marked a huge step forward for a company that's already managed to shake up the rocket industry with its groundbreaking technology. To construct the rocket, SpaceX used three Falcon 9 rockets that have been used in successful cargo launches.

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy shot into orbit Tuesday, off the very Cape Canaveral launch pad Apollo 11 astronauts waved goodbye from before landing on the moon almost a half century ago. Within the first year of pioneering reusability, the company became the world's largest launch provider. That's more liftoff punch than any other rocket now operating in the world - by a factor of two - but less than NASA's old space shuttles and Saturn V moon rockets. That honor belongs to NASA's Saturn V rocket, which was used for the Apollo moon landings and was retired in the 1970s.



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