Whether you’re an evil international billionaire supervillain, seeking a new plot for your next Fast And Furious In Space script, or investigating a murder that has you wondering who exactly is in that “Starman” suit, you’ve likely thought about orchestrating an interstellar automobile heist to get your hands on Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster. It’s currently screaming across the cosmos, having launched from earth at the tip of SpaceX’s 27-engine Falcon Heavy rocket.
Luckily for you, all of the maths has already been done. Thanks to Kyle Hill, the host of Because Science on YouTube. First, he delightfully walks all of us through the maths required to intercept with Mars. I took business classes in college, so my brain is largely bereft of science learnin’, but I still found this fascinating.
While Musk’s eventual goal is Mars, Starman won’t ever land there and is destined to simply float in the deep blackness. That, therefore, requires a completely different set of mathematical calculations with way more variables. That’s where a totally awesome interplanetary trajectory calculator comes into play.
Now, it would take just over a year to meet up with Starman, and likely a similar timeframe to return, so you’d be in space for about two and a half years. Is it worth it to nab a $88,000 car? Probably not. But I heard that the treasure of One-eyed Willy is in the trunk, and some developers are going to bulldoze mum and dad’s house if we don’t buy out the property!
Of course, this video doesn’t exactly touch on the process of extracting the car from the rocket in the middle of space, or how to store it in your own space shuttle for the long trip back home. You’d have to do your own calculations on how many crew members to bring along, how much food you’ll need for the mission, and how many you’re willing to kill in the process. I mean... wait...
After all, “A rendezvous in space isn’t as easy as just pointing and thrusting.” Indeed. Nothing ever is.