This might be the ultimate space oddity.
High above his home planet, where millions of people are no doubt sitting in traffic in cars of their own, “Starman” drifted effortlessly through a wide open expanse on Tuesday.
The mannequin in a spacesuit — launched aboard SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket on Tuesday — sat in the driver’s seat of Elon Musk’s cherry red Tesla Roadster. With the top down, Starman drove off toward a deep-space orbit listening to David Bowie’s “Life on Mars.”
SpaceX beamed a live internet view of the unprecedented adventure via its YouTube feed, where more than 200,000 viewers were watching at one point.
Assorted camera angles captured views from inside the Roadster over Starman’s shoulder; from out in front of the hood looking back; and from off the driver’s side of the car looking back toward Starman.
Earth continuously moved into the frame to serve as a dramatic blue backdrop against an otherwise deep, black setting.
A toy Roadster sat on the dashboard, with a tiny toy Starman sitting inside.
Clearly amused by his own stunt, Musk tweeted that “apparently, there is a car in orbit around Earth,” later adding that the Tesla was over Australia.
SpaceX’s live-video view of Starman was available for only a limited time.
“The battery’s going to last about 12 hours from launch, roughly, and after that it’s just going to be out there in deep space for maybe millions or billions of years, who knows?” Musk said. “Maybe it’ll be discovered by some future alien race, thinking, ‘What were these guys doing? Did they worship this car? Why do they have a little car in the car?’ That’ll really confuse them.”
Although Starman is no longer live, you can catch a few hours’ worth of the Roadster’s space odyssey, courtesy of this archived YouTube clip: