Physicists find a small chance the spacefaring Tesla will slam into Earth or Venus


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/02/20/physicists-find-a-small-chance.html


#2

See, autonomous vehicle crash avoidance systems DO work!


#3

I just hope it doesn’t slam into Uranus


#4

Yes, multi-body gravitational systems still have chaotic dynamics over long timeframes. Physicists also can’t be sure that the planets won’t eventually be ejected from the solar system.

I also expect a control system no larger than a cubesat could correct for undesired variations in orbit over any human-relevant timeframe.


#5

Why is everyone being so hyperbolic (parabolic? elliptical? :wink: about the car ‘slamming’ into us. It would burn up in the atmosphere so fast we wouldn’t be lucky enough to see it.
And as for it becoming space junk cluttering up… space, it’s not in earth orbit, it’s in orbit around the sun along with millions of other rocks that are much bigger than it and will likely never come close to anything.
Besides, it’s not junk, it can totally have a scientific purpose by understanding orbital mechanics and tons of other things. As far as things in space go it’s practically a mirror reflecting sunlight, much easier to track than all those pieces of dark coal in the blackness of space.


#6

The really amusing part is imagining several hundred years from now when everyone has forgotten about this stunt and someone is out traveling in his spaceship and just happen to pass by near this “asteroid”. “Hey guys, can you believe we were just overtaken by a car!”


#7

image


#8

“Bill… Was that a vintage sportscar outside the window just now?”

Bill: puts down beer


#9

I wonder what the Planetary Protection Officer has to say about this.


#10

It’s because of this sort of lowbrow joke that I prefer Herschel’s original name “the Georgian Planet”.

(for my anus, that is).


#11

I wonder how many meteorites are going to strike the Tesla between now and then? I’d say the long term modeling of its trajectory are purely conjectural at this point.


#12

Did Spacex undergo proper decontamination of the payload before launch? all space craft undergoing missions within a certain radius of the target planet in question must be properly decontaminated in order to not contaminate the other world in the event of a crash. what if some kind of intelligent life spawns on that rocket car and accidentally introduces it to earth??? …the horror…


#13

His head exploded some time ago.


#14

Musk has proven he can put a car into space.

Now let’s see him return it and parallel park it.


#15

Perhaps no one else got this reference. Anyways, you’ll surely remember this cartoon:

I will name him George


#16

This has to count for something. I don’t even like the guy, but this counts for something.


#17

Big ones, pretty much zero. The space is big and empty.

Micrometeoroids, basically sand grains and small gravel in space, that’s a different matter, but the biggest damage to the car is going to come from sunlight itself.


#18

Even small ones will alter its trajectory, and even tiny changes in trajectory get multiplied over the centuries.


#19

But it’s a car! Haven’t you ever seen a car crash? It’s terrible!


#20

It totally does!

But I still want to see if he can parallel park that other vehicle.