“We estimate the dynamical lifetime of the Tesla to be a few tens of millions of years.”

How long the space-faring Tesla will be floating in space before it crashes and burns onto a planet


Mon, Feb 19th, 2018 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

In a paper titled The random walk of cars and their collision probabilities with planets, a bunch of astrophysicists from Canada and the Czech Republic, have calculated for how long Elon Musk's Tesla will stay in space before it falls into a planet. Apparently quite a long time.

On February 6th, 2018 SpaceX launched a Tesla Roadster on a Mars crossing orbit. We perform N-body simulations to determine the fate of the object over the next several million years, under the relevant perturbations acting on the orbit. The orbital evolution is initially dominated by close encounters with the Earth. The first close encounter with the Earth will occur in 2091. The repeated encounters lead to a random walk that eventually causes close encounters with other terrestrial planets and the Sun. Long-term integrations become highly sensitive to the initial conditions after several such close encounters. By running a large ensemble of simulations with slightly perturbed initial conditions, we estimate the probability of a collision with Earth and Venus over the next one million years to be 6% and 2.5%, respectively. We estimate the dynamical lifetime of the Tesla to be a few tens of millions of years.



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