We hope that you have not forgotten the historical launch of the ultra-heavy Falcon Heavy booster rocket, which sent the Tesla electric cabriolet Ilona Mask into space. No? Then we have two news for you. Good and bad. The good thing is that we probably will see this car again. Bad – it can fall to Earth.
According to the new results of the calculations of the orbital trajectory of the electro-drive, a stylish piece of red iron, rubber and other steep pieces, including Starman (an improvised astronaut, in whose role the mannequin dressed in a space suit developed by SpaceX) can in the future several times fly past the Earth and once , perhaps, even it will fall. To such conclusions came the Canadian astrophysicist Hanno Rein from the University of Toronto Scarborough (Canada), who with his colleagues decided to find out the probability of such an outcome.
“We already had all the software ready, and when we found out that the launch was successful, we decided to check what will happen to Tesla in the next millions of years,” commented Raine to Science.
Of course, a million years is a very long period of time, for which much can happen, especially considering how many gravitational factors (the attraction of the same Jupiter, Mars, Earth and other large objects when approaching them) can play a role in this affect the further trajectory of the car.
As Musk originally thought, Tesla missed her target, Mars, and set out on a journey to the asteroid belt. Subsequently, scientists have shown that this is not true – the car will really approach the Red Planet this year, but will not become its companion.
Raine and his colleagues drew attention to the fact that such a trajectory of motion actually turned the car into a next near-Earth asteroid that lives between the orbits of Mars, Earth and Venus and periodically converges with our planet and its closest neighbors. And the first rapprochement with the Earth, according to calculations, will have to happen somewhere in 2091, when the distance between the car and our planet will be less than the distance from Earth to the Moon.
Looking ahead, it should be noted that the calculations did not show any possible collisions with the Earth for at least the next thousand years, but scientists note that they can not give any guarantees yet.
“The problem is that because of the chaotic orbit, we can not accurately predict what will happen in a few centuries. We can draw conclusions only in a statistical sense, “Raine told CBS News.
After 240 computer simulations of possible changes in the orbital dynamics of the car, Raine and his colleagues discovered that there is a 50 percent chance that the car will fall to Earth for the next several tens of millions of years.
When astronomers took into account all possible side factors, their calculations showed that Tesla can still return to Earth – the probability of its fall to the planet in the next million years is about 6%. In addition, there is a 2.5% chance that the first space vehicle will fall not to Earth, but to Venus. If we talk about a later date, say, 3 million years, the chance for a “meeting” increases to 11 percent. Scientists note that in no case the simulation of the car did not fall on Mars and only under one scenario Tesla fell on the Sun within 3 million years.
In any case, the authors of the study hasten to calm the population and Ilona Mask himself, saying that even if the car does go to Earth, nothing will threaten us.
“Even if the car falls to Earth, the inhabitants of the planet and Ilona Mask do not have to worry about it – it will either completely burn in the atmosphere, or only one of its details will fall to the surface.”