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Cars in space, feet on the ground

A cherry-red Tesla Roadster floating like a tin can, far above the world

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An absurd, jolly jape by the Iron Man himself, Elon Musk
An absurd, jolly jape by the Iron Man himself, Elon Musk

He’s a wrecking ball, the king disruptor, with the most extreme form of product placement to prove it: a cherry-red Tesla Roadster floating like a tin can, far above the world. An absurd, jolly jape by the Iron Man himself, Elon Musk. And we all know how it got there, transported by Musk’s SpaceX on the maiden voyage of its Falcon Heavy rocket, the largest rocket in operation today.

 

The wow moment for me during the live streaming was the balletic precision of the two reusable booster rockets, as they fired down gracefully to their upright positions back at their landing spots on Earth. The third booster was due to land on a drone ship out in the Atlantic, but failing to slow during descent it hit the water at 500mph and was destroyed.

 

Meanwhile, in space, the car remained attached to the upper stage of the rocket whilst dealing with radiation belts in the earth’s orbit. Once through these, the plan was a final thrust to blast the car into deep space and into Mars orbit.

 

However, early morning reports show that the Tesla has overshot its trajectory and is now in an orbit that extends to the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. What will happen to the car now is anyone guess, but if you’re in the business of future asteroid mining, coming off piste like this is going to get you excited.

 

The end game for SpaceX is to establish life on Mars. The Falcon Heavy’s first mission was to demonstrate that the rocket can send objects into deep space. It seems we’re at the start of a new era in space, where thanks to the reusable parts of the Falcon Heavy, affordability is a central tenet. Holidays in space, well maybe they’re closer than we all think.

 

But back to Earth, one of our highlighted news stories this week goes to prove that disruption and innovation are sometimes just a single step away.

 

Pavegen produces an interactive flooring technology that converts the kinetic energy of footfall into off-grid energy. Wow! The UK company has signed with Siemens to bring this technology to smart city projects around the world. I love the idea that schools, hospitals, airports, stadiums and the like, can be power-assisted by the people that use them.

 

A simple solution right at our feet.

 

Melony Rocque

Executive editor

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