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.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, then you know that the Tesla Roadster sent into space by Elon Musk aboard the Falcon Heavy is on its way to Mars. At the last update, the Tesla Roadster was 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
But did you know what else is aboard the electric car piloted by Starman? The answer is so poetic, you’ll never guess!
The Tesla Roadster also carries with it the Arch, a tiny optical disc that can hold 360TB of data.
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, the Arch discs are stable for 14B+ years so they could be a message to future humans, if not aliens capable of decoding the information on them.
For those who look to the Universe in hope of a better place, the Arch on the Tesla Roadster Musk sent to space contains something beautiful: Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy. It’s a series of books that shaped a lot of imaginations, including those of visionaries like Elon Musk.
The Arch Mission creators had this to say about why they included the books aboard a red electric car going towards the Asteroid Belt.
“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.”
See more about the Arch Mission below and visit their site to find out what they plan next.