A week ago, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk put his personal luxury Tesla sports car into orbit around the Sun. The car was launched in Elon's first successful and most powerful rocket. It is supposed to be on an elliptical orbit around the Sun, which allows it to make several close passes to Mars during its million+ year lifespan. However, the car is headed back and will crash into Earth, according to a few Canadian astrophysicists, reports Motherboard.
Elon Musk had tweeted out soon after the launch that the car had overshot the trajectory by a few points and was instead headed into the asteroid belt. However, some astrophysicists mentioned that though the car was headed to a different trajectory as compared to the original plan, it will still pass closer to Mars.
But when they went on to calculate the orbital path, after a lot of number crunching, they released a paper on arXiv with calculations that the car will collide with Earth, but not anytime soon.
The car is destined to pass by Earth for the first time in 2091 and it may come within a lunar distance of Earth, they claimed. Since the car is similar to an asteroid, they ran a few simulations and confirm that the pass in 2091 will ‘probably’ create disturbances in the car’s initial trajectory and the Earth’s gravitational field will minutely change the path. 48 simulations were run based on NASA’s HORIZONS database that tracks bodies in the solar system. The astrophysicists claim that Elon’s car could hit Earth in the next million years — the exact possibility was around 3 million years.
However, the astrophysicists also said that the chances of it crashing into Earth was 6 per cent, which is higher than that of Venus at 2.5 per cent. The researchers estimate that Elon’s car will last around 20 million years and they expect collision probabilities with Earth to be substantial.
If you are interested on where the roadster is at present, you can use this website which gives live updates you to the second on where the car is presently in orbit. Track the car yourself with this website.