Elon Musk Reveals Photos of Tesla Roadster Launching on Falcon Heavy Rocket

Tesla Roadster

Musk stated in a tweet, "Payload will be my midnight cherry Tesla Roadster playing Space Oddity".

Earlier this month, Musk announced on Twitter that he plans to send his Roadster to Mars as the first payload on the inaugural demo flight of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy.

For anyone that still thought that Musk was joking, he put those thoughts to rest today with a few images posted to Instagram.

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But whereas the animation shows the boosters landing on terra firma within a short distance of each other, Musk confirmed this week that "if things go perfectly", the two side cores will return to land while the central core will come down on SpaceX's drone ship, which has already successfully handled plenty of Falcon 9 landings. If successful, the launch will put the vehicle on a path to intercept the orbit of Mars. Thus, while the release of Tesla's Full Self-Driving feature appears to be delayed, the upcoming navigation overhaul for early 2018 might be the electric carmaker's way of paving the way for more advanced Autopilot features to follow.

The exact date of the Heavy test launch isn't clear. "Will be light-years ahead of current system, but we are testing it rigorously before rolling out", said Musk in a Twitter post on Thursday. He claims that the rocket will be in deep space for a billion years if it doesn't blow up on ascent - and given the success that SpaceX had lately, a successful launch seems likely. After all, why would he want to send an electric auto into orbit around Mars? Musk's response suggests that Tesla is thinking far behind simple map updates with its new navigation software, and instead will be making top-to-bottom changes to how the system works overall across its vehicles.

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