The roadster, “driven” by a mannequin dubbed “Starman” wearing a spacesuit, was part of a dummy payload attached to the second stage of a SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket that launched in 2018.
“It’s a long distance,” Jonathan Dowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, told CNN. “Mars would appear about 1/10 the diameter of the Moon, so small but not a point.”
Dowell tracked the rocket using NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Horizons system, which has an accurate trajectory calculated from the Falcon 9’s initial orbit as it left Earth. He says that it is in elliptical orbit around the Sun.
The vehicle is over 37 million miles from Earth and has traveled nearly 1.3 billion miles since launching nearly 2 years and 8 months ago, whereisroadster.com says.
However, it will be some time before it comes close to Earth again.
“It will pass about 5 million km from Earth in the year 2047,” Dowel said. “Not close enough to see it as a resolved object.”