If there are no launchpad explosions, this time tomorrow Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster will be hurtling towards Mars after being fired into space by the world's most powerful operational rocket. The SpaceX CEO himself has acknowledged that it is a big "if," but an animation shared by the company does show how this spectacular journey will play out should everything go to plan.
SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket was built to carry humans into deep space, raising the possibility of manned missions to the Moon and Mars. The vehicle is essentially three Falcon 9 boosters rolled into one, using a total of 27 engines to generate a maximum thrust equal to eighteen 747s. This makes it the most powerful rocket to lift-off since the Saturn V took flight for the Apollo missions in the 60s and 70s.
After years of development and plenty of setbacks, the stage is finally set for its big debut. Musk confirmed today on Twitter that "all systems remain green for launch at 1:30pm EST tomorrow," and also shared images of the Falcon Heavy's first passenger, a dummy dressed in a SpaceX spacesuit behind the wheel of the Tesla Roadster.
"Falcon Heavy launches to Mars orbit tomorrow," Musk wrote on Instagram. "If it doesn't explode into tiny pieces, it will carry Starman in Roadster over 400 million km from Earth at 11 km/sec on a billion year journey through deep space."
And the theatrics won't stop once the car is released from the payload fairing. SpaceX will look to recover all three of the Falcon Heavy's boosters, with two to return for landings on solid ground and the center core, which will have traveled faster and further, to try and land on a barge at sea.
Check out the animation below, and cross your fingers that tomorrow the explosions are kept to a minimum.
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