A long-exposure photograph of the Falcon heavy rocket"s very first test start on Feb. 6, 2018 reflects the rocket"s bent trajectory as it lifts off from Kennedy space Center and heads towards low-Earth orbit.(Image credit: SpaceX)
"Exceeded Mars orbit and kept going come the asteroid belt," SpaceX rock star CEO Elon Musk tweeted yesterday night (Feb. 6) after a effective launch that his Falcon heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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Those less familiar with the principles of interplanetary flight can take this together a statement the the rocket, at this time the most powerful in the world, and also its payload — Musk"s midnight-cherry Tesla Roadster blasting David Bowie"s "Space Oddity" — have already reached the orbit around the Red Planet.

But that plainly would be as well ambitious a feat even for the boundary-breaking entrepreneur. What actually taken place is the the rocket overshot its to plan orbit and set itself onto a trajectory that would certainly lead it much deeper into space than initially intended, right into the asteroid belt in between Mars and also Jupiter.

According to astronomer Phil Plait, composing for his Syfy.com blog, the spacecraft was expected to get in an elliptical orbit roughly the sun, intersecting the orbit of Mars at its farthest allude and the orbit that the earth at that nearest.

"This is a low-energy orbit; that is, the takes the the very least amount of energy to placed something in this orbit native Earth," Plait, that spoke directly to Musk, described in the blog article from December of critical year. "That provides sense because that a first flight."

Even if the Falcon Heavy gotten in the correct orbit, the rocket would certainly still take number of months to reach Mars. According to estimates by enthusiasts at the space.stackexchange forum, the rocket would have actually reached Mars in ~ some point in October this year. The flyby would not be an especially close, due to the fact that the Falcon Heavy"s upper stage is no designed to perform any further orbit corrections. The was never ever intended to actually go into the orbit that Mars — an extremely difficult feat that would certainly require lot more facility engineering.

The Falcon Heavy, which is now several hundred miles away from planet (the minimum distance to Mars is about 33 million miles, or 54.6million kilometers, despite the exact distance counts on the location of the planets in any type of given moment), would at some point cross the orbit on i m sorry Mars travels roughly the sun. Yet the possibility the earth would be almost everywhere near the point out at that time is almost zero, professionals say.

The Falcon hefty took off amid frenzied cheers yesterday native the launchpad in Cape Canaveral, Florida, that had actually been offered in the previous to launch the above Apollo missions to the moon.

Two of the rocket"s three boosters landing in sync about 3 minutes after liftoff earlier at the Cape Canaveral center"s landing pads. The third, central booster to be later confirmed lost.

Original post on Live Science.

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Tereza is a London-based science and technology journalist, video clip producer and also health blogger. Originally from Prague, the Czech Republic, she invested the very first seven year of she career functioning as a reporter, script-writer and presenter for assorted TV program of the Czech national TV station. She later took a career break to pursue further education and added a master in scientific research from the International room University, France, to she Bachelor"s level in Journalism indigenous Prague"s Charles University. She is passionate about nutrition, meditation and psychology, and also sustainability.