SpaceX Sets Official Launch Date for Falcon Heavy Rocket Carrying Tesla Roadster Bound for Mars

Monday, 29 January 2018 - 11:04AM
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Monday, 29 January 2018 - 11:04AM
SpaceX Sets Official Launch Date for Falcon Heavy Rocket Carrying Tesla Roadster Bound for Mars
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Image credit: YouTube
We're nearing a very important moment for the future of space travel.

Not content with running small payloads into space for government officials (and then instantly losing their contents), Elon Musk's SpaceX commercial space flight company now has a concrete date for the inaugural launch of their Falcon Heavy rocket.

After years and years of work, SpaceX how has an official launch date for the rocket. According to Musk himself, the launch is scheduled for February 6, when it will blast off from 39A at Cape Kennedy in Florida.




Tickets for watching the launch are available, but they are in short supply and most of the best seats are already sold out. Alternatively, internet viewers should probably keep their eyes peeled for an eventual announcement of an official live stream from SpaceX.

The largest rocket ever to be constructed and launched since the Saturn V which debuted in 1967, the Falcon Heavy is also noteworthy as it will allow commercial companies to send far larger payloads up into the stars.

As proof of the Falcon Heavy's capabilities, and in reverence to Elon Musk's obsession with conquering space travel, the rocket's first mission will involve transporting a midnight cherry Tesla Roadster into space, bound for an orbit around the distant planet of Mars.




Musk describes the car as being his own, but considering that he essentially owns all unsold Roadsters, and won't exactly be driving this one any time soon, this claim to personal ownership feels symbolic at best. From the sound of it, Musk expects the car to be in orbit around Mars for "millions of years", potentially being discovered at some point in the future by an alien race once our own species has long since died off.

There is a question to be raised about the moral ramifications of Musk's planned car journey. With astronomers currently complaining about a giant disco ball that has been launched into orbit around the Earth, it's important for us to re-evaluate our littering activities throughout the solar system. As the commercial era of space travel begins, it'll often be easier for companies to discard space junk rather than attempting to return it to Earth for proper disposal or recycling.

This carries with it more danger than littering on Earth—the Cassini space probe was deliberately destroyed in order to avoid Earth germs contaminating moons surrounding Saturn, and there's no way that SpaceX's sterilization protocols are as rigid as those at NASA.

Musk's Roadster is likely going to become a germ factory, cultivating Earth micro-organisms for decades or centuries that could prove potentially lethal should the car ever actually make its way to a planet's surface.

Still, though, the dangers of his show of power are probably lost on Musk. The important thing here is that his Falcon Heavy is finally ready, and before long, it's going to be sending big, heavy things to and from space on a regular basis.

The era of heavy load (and slightly contaminated) space haulage has finally arrived.
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