Early December, Elon Musk announced that SpaceX was going to launch a Falcon Heavy rocket to orbit around Mars. This rocket has twice the thrust of its closest competitor. Never one to leave well enough alone, though, he also declared that he was going to load his Tesla Roadster into the rocket as a payload.
Payload will be my midnight cherry Tesla Roadster playing Space Oddity. Destination is Mars orbit. Will be in deep space for a billion years or so if it doesn’t blow up on ascent.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 2, 2017
Today, he confirmed via Instagram that in place of the rocket's usual simulated weight, the Roadster was indeed going to go into space.
A Red Car for the Red Planet Test flights of new rockets usually contain mass simulators in the form of concrete or steel blocks. That seemed extremely boring. Of course, anything boring is terrible, especially companies, so we decided to send something unusual, something that made us feel. The payload will be an original Tesla Roadster, playing Space Oddity, on a billion year elliptic Mars orbit.
Musk has always had a reputation for being a bit of an eccentric, and his penchant for flash is on full display here. He claims that the rocket will be in deep space for a billion years if it doesn't blow up on ascent -- and given the success that SpaceX had lately, a successful launch seems likely.
Doubling down on his mission to never be boring, he also said that the car would be blasting the famous 1972 song Space Oddity by David Bowie.
Beyond being a great rock song, the lyrics also share the disquieting feeling the first Mars-bound astronauts will feel as the hurtle away from the Earth towards a new planet: once you're on that ride, there is no turning back.