Update: SpaceX’s Starman and Tesla Roadster are still on their journey towards the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter. According to website ‘whereisroadster.com’, at the time of writing, the car was 143,576,328 miles (231,063,774 km, 1.545 AU) from Mars, moving toward the planet at a speed of 43,991 miles/hour (70,797 km/hour, 19.67 km/s). Data compiled comes from JPL Horizons.
Elon Musk’s space exploration company SpaceX continues to impress with their innovations. Their newest operational rocket, the Falcon Heavy, succeeded in lifting off on its maiden voyage to Mars only a few days ago! Not only did it successfully launch into space, but it brought along a Tesla Roadster piloted by its aptly named dummy driver Starman! At the last update, the Roadster could seen going towards the Asteroid Belt.
Third burn successful. Exceeded Mars orbit and kept going to the Asteroid Belt. pic.twitter.com/bKhRN73WHF
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 7, 2018
On board with Starman is the Arch, a tiny optical disc that can hold 360TB of data. The Arch is a product of the Arch Mission, a global team working to curate and preserve humanity by spreading it across the universe. A wonder of technology, the Arch disc is “written by a femtosecond laser on quartz silica glass” with the data “encoded digitally as 20nm gratings, formed by plasma disruptions from the laser pulses.” In plain English, Arch discs are data crystals that can store huge amounts of information and literally last billions of years. According to its creators, Arch discs are stable for 14B+ years so they could be used to send message to future humans, if not extraterrestrial beings capable of decoding the information on them.
The Arch aboard the Roadster contains Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy, a beautiful and poetic tribute to the prosperity of humanity and the Arch Mission. As the Arch creators explain, “The series’ protagonist Hari Seldon endeavors to preserve and expand upon all human culture and knowledge through a 30,000 year period of turmoil. We felt this was a very fitting first payload to include in the Arch.” Given that this series has been incredibly influential to creative and imaginative minds like Elon Musk, it is only appropriate for it to be recorded in perpetuity on the Arch.
To see more about the Arch Mission, check out the video below and visit their site to find out what they plan to do next.