Holy Cross Professor is Keeping Tabs on Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster

Popular Science
February 12th, 2018 by 

Samuel Habein '17 and Professor and Department Chair Tomohiko Narita build a cosmic ray telescope during Summer Research 2015.
From left, Samuel Habein '17 and professor Tom Narita build a cosmic ray telescope during Summer Research 2015. Samuel Habein '17 and Professor and Department Chair Tomohiko Narita build a cosmic ray telescope during Summer Research 2015. Photo by: Tom Rettig

 

Elon Musk made headlines last week when his company SpaceX launched an electric sports car into space, and not any car, but his own personal Tesla Roadster, through what appears to have been a seamless first-ever launch of the massive new rocket Falcon Heavy. The roadster is headed for orbit around the sun with its path hard to predict by astronomers.

But will we ever see it again and if so, would we be able to even recognize it? Holy Cross associate professor and chair of physics Tomohiko Narita, believes the Roadster would make a loop around the sun and return to the approximate area it was launched from in two and a half years or so, and we might even be able to see it from Earth in as early as five years.

As far as its shape is concerned, Narita wasn’t too optimistic, telling Popular Science, “Someday, maybe someone will find the relic of what appears to be a car or a hunk of metal with shredded rubber and destroyed plastic covering it.” According to Narita, hazards such as high-speed space dust and cosmic ray radiation are likely to turn the pricy sports car into an “inert piece of space junk.”

To read more, visit PopSci.com.

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