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Elon Musk's Live Stream Shows Off Earth's Curve...Sorry Flat Earthers

Elon Musk's Live Stream Shows Off Earth's Curve...Sorry Flat Earthers

Photos and videos from the successful launch have been released online

Chris Ogden

Chris Ogden

Just yesterday, Elon Musk's SpaceX successfully managed to launch its Falcon Heavy rocket into space, and with it a midnight cherry red Tesla sports car. Because what else is a billionaire going to do with his money?

Now SpaceX is documenting the Tesla Roadster's amazing - and extremely slow - journey towards Mars, complete with a 'driver' in the form of SpaceX's astronaut suit.

The car is only just beginning its 400 million km journey towards Mars as it completes a six-hour journey around the Earth's radiation belts. The vehicle's adventure could potentially see it drift through the solar system for up to a billion years, blasting Davie Bowie's 'Space Oddity' as it goes. Godspeed, little roadster.

You might notice from Musk's tweet above a fact of our planet's appearance that most people with any sense knew about already - from the cold, objective view of space, Earth looks round. A nice low-key way to shut flat Earthers down.

Despite the concrete evidence being right in front of them, even the more sensible didn't think the argument was over, saying flat Earthers would just claim the footage is fake.

Lo and behold, it didn't take long for one doubting Thomas to emerge as someone asked why the Earth wasn't spinning in SpaceX's footage - as if we all live on an enormous spinning top and yet miraculously don't get dizzy and puke.

Some patient Twitter users explained the guy was underestimating how big the Earth really is, saying that although the Earth's rotation is fast, it's still too slow for it to be perceptible to the human eye.

Sadly there's no reasoning with some people, as the guy responded with this clear, logical evidence to ... flat out deny it. Oh well. At least they tried.

The car hasn't been cut adrift entirely yet: at the time of writing, it's still attached to the upper stage of the Falcon Heavy - the most powerful rocket launched since the Space Shuttle - and is undergoing a six-hour journey through the radiation belts around Earth.

If the rocket and roadster somehow make it through the belts, a second burn will push the car towards a heliocentric orbit around the Sun. It's easy to see why SpaceX didn't use a real driver for this, isn't it?

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Musk said: "[The roadster will] get about 400 million kilometres away from Earth, and it'll be doing 11km/s. We estimate it will be in that orbit for several hundred million years, maybe in excess of a billion years."

That's a long time to be listening to 'Space Oddity' on repeat.


Given the Falcon Heavy rocket itself had only a 50/50 chance of success during its test flight, it's impressive that the rocket even made it off the ground, so it would be even more incredible if it does manage to fulfil its mission.

Although staff were initially concerned about the weather conditions, the Falcon Heavy launch was a roaring success - the rocket not only blasted through the skies but both side boosters made it back to Earth safely afterwards.

All of this might have huge implications for space travel in the future - with larger satellites, bigger robots and more impressive telescopes among the things the new technology will allow us to hurl into space.

The Falcon Heavy's ability to land back on Earth and be reused will also be vastly more efficient and cheaper than the other rockets humanity has had at its disposal.

So while sending a car on a road trip in space is human folly at its finest, it isn't just for the laughs - although it has made flat Earthers look a lot more silly.

Featured Image Credit: YouTube/SpaceX

Topics: tesla, elon musk, World News, News, SpaceX, Technology