Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster is Making Its Second Orbit Around the Sun
By Space Coast Daily // February 24, 2020
A little over two years ago, on the 6th February 2018, Elon Musk pulled off one of his most daring and ambitious marketing stunts to date: sending a Tesla Roadster into space.
Functioning as the dummy payload for a Falcon Heavy test flight, both the car and rocket were created by companies belonging to the eccentric billionaire.
While the event drew in a huge audience, with 2.3 million viewers watching a live stream of the launch, its cultural impact didn’t end there.
Inspiring a slew of internet memes, the stunt also led to the creation of a website dedicated to tracking its progress – and the latest intel tells us that the car is now on its second orbit of the sun, having so far traveled a whopping one billion miles.
To Mars and beyond
When Elon Musk launched the now famous Tesla Roadster into space a little over two years ago, it seemed a genius stroke of marketing – but one whose impact would be almost inevitably short lived.
Aiming to draw the attention of the world toward his products and their potential, the stunt was meant to inspire the public to see beyond life on earth, with Musk explaining that he wanted to share the “possibility of something new happening in space” as part of his wider vision to one day spread humanity’s reach to other planets.
What could not have been foreseen was just how long the impact of this stunt would endure. While it drew in a massive initial audience, with 2.3 million viewers tuning in to watch the launch, it also led to the creation of a website tracking its progress – one that continues to enjoy a large amount of traffic even two years later.
What this has done for Tesla and other Musk-owned companies is hard to define, but it has undoubtedly kept the brand and its sister companies in the public focus.
This has almost certainly helped to encourage many to buy Tesla shares, with brokers like eToro currently selling these at around 833.79 USD.
Not only has this kept attention on the brand, but it has also provided some useful insights into the reach of Tesla technology, with the Falcon Heavy rocket and its vehicular payload now having traveled more than one billion miles since being shot into space on February 6th 2018.
Currently on its second orbit of the sun, the rocket and Roadster are now around 215.6 million miles from Earth and traveling at a speed of more than 6,000 miles per hour, which places them close to red planet Mars.
A cultural phenomenon
While the Tesla Roadster and its journey into space was always intended to be a marketing stunt, it’s hard to imagine that even the ever-ambitious Elon Musk could have foreseen its success.
Drawing in an initial audience of over 2 million viewers on YouTube, it became the second most-watched live event on the platform, hot on the heels of Felix Baumgartner’s 2012 jump from the stratosphere.
Cottoning onto the tracking website and ensuing memes, a number of public entities and brands got in on the action. Western Australia Police, for example, mocked up a picture of a radar gun aimed at the vehicle while it was above the country, while Skoda filmed a parody of one of their vehicles being driven to the village of Mars in central France.
Donut Media, too, joined in, attempting to send a Hot-Wheels sized Tesla Model X up into the stratosphere using a weather balloon.
What this emphasized was not just the cultural impact of the stunt, but the effect it had on the brand and its stocks, which both profited – and continue to profit – hugely in its aftermath.
Eccentric, out-there, and unprecedented, the launch of the Roadster into space was part PR stunt and part proclamation, and on both counts, turned out to be a resounding success.
Showing the unfettered potential of the Tesla brand, it not only ensured that the eyes of the world were on its more earthly accomplishments, but that everyone knew what unrivalled feats it was capable of.
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