What will happen to Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster in space?

SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket lifts off

SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket lifts off

Although most of the social media sphere loved the mannequin driving the cherry-red Tesla sports vehicle, Musk managed to prove something more important than a tossing a auto into space playing David Bowie's Space Oddity. At the start of Tuesday, shares were trading at $323.50 but by market close, an hour before the rocket launch, were $10 higher in value.

SpaceX, the galactic exploration company founded by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, has launched a rocket towards Mars carrying an interesting payload. He has said his next-generation rocket and spaceship system, known as BFR, will take people to the Red Planet. The electric sports vehicle is piloted by a mannequin, with David Bowie's Space Oddity on loop and a copy of Douglas Adams" "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' in the glove compartment.

Forbes reports that Tesla's use of AI is not limited to Autopilot - the company employs machine learning in the design and manufacturing processes, to process customer data, and even to scan the text in online forums for insights into commonly-reported problems.

The launch was far from universally appreciated, though.

While the company could generate cash flow in Q3, it will instead make capital investments for the Model Y (a new crossover) in the second half of 2018.


"Both SpaceX and NASA have missions to Mars as their goals, but only one can actually get there at a sustainable cost", Garver wrote. "The Tesla gimmick was the backup". Estimated to have been built at a cost of $500m-$1bn, this expenditure is tiny when compared to NASA's Space Launch System (SLS).

The "Falcon Heavy" rocket was loaded down with a cargo consisting of Musk's own Tesla Roadster, making it the first production auto ever launched into space. Earth is the bright crescent seen in the background. And the SLS is created to have greater capability than the Falcon Heavy.

But space is not just the province of government.

"I'll consider it a win if it clears the pad and doesn't blow the pad to smithereens", Musk told Business Insider on Monday during a press briefing.

Some are proposing that NASA spends the next decade or longer building the "Deep Space Gateway", a mini-space station that would orbit the Moon, but this would be a strategic mistake and detour from what NASA should do starting in the early 2020s: Build a Lunar surface base with commercial and ISS partners, and with lessons learned, go to Mars in the 2030s. While overall deliveries will improve this year, with the company holding on to its most recent Model 3 production guidance (2,500 Model 3 cars a week by the end of Q1 and 5,000 a week by the end of the second quarter), its luxury vehicles could have a more mixed year.

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