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What will happen to Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster in space?

11 February 2018

Tesla has never made a full-year profit since it went public in 2010.

Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) just posted its worst-ever quarterly loss for the fourth quarter of its fiscal year. The adjusted loss eliminates one-time expenses, including stock-based compensation. Annual revenue increased 68 percent to $11.8 billion.

Musk is a masterful marketer, and the red ink may not stem investors' excitement. The Tesla auto, expected to head into orbit around Mars, appears to have taken a wrong turn further into deep space overnight, reports said on Friday. The convertible, with a dummy in a space suit at its wheel, is now heading toward an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Tesla shares were down 4.72 percent on NASDAQ at 12:13 p.m. EST on Thursday.

While Tesla's true believers love these stunts, some analysts are questioning whether Musk should be spending more time fixing Tesla's woes.

BFR would eventually replace SpaceX's Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets and the Dragon capsule. The companys reusable boosters, lower prices and ambitions for deep space have helped stoke new interest in human flight far beyond low-Earth orbit, and reawakened the global spirit for interplanetary travel. "More seriously, this is more like a case of something falling away from the rocket, certainly, nothing to do with a UFO of the extraterrestrial type following it", Nigel Watson, author of the UFO Investigations Manual, said. "Musk's message is a bit ambiguous", Rob Weryk, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy, said in an email. This is an increase of 33 percent compared to a year ago but still not enough to keep the company above water.

Elon Musk put a'Starman in the Tesla
AFPElon Musk put a'Starman in the Tesla

With that in mind, Tesla announced new production goals for the Model 3. He said that at some point - perhaps 50 to 100 years from now - it will be "a juicy target for salvage", and someone will mount a new space mission to recapture the Roadster and bring it back to Earth.

The inter-galactic roadster was supposed to reach the orbit of Mars, however it has overshot and is now expected to reach a distance of 160 million miles from the Sun, The Verge reported.

SpaceX is also not the only one eyeing the moon.

Tesla said that net reservations for its Model 3 electric sedan were stable during the fourth quarter.

CfA astronomer Jonathan McDowell (@planet4589 on Twitter), also an inveterate tweeter (like Musk), was one of those trying to calculate the Roadster's correct orbit.

What will happen to Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster in space?