Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster and Starman Leave Earth Forever in This Final Photo

Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster and Starman cruise away from Earth in this final photo from the car after its launch on SpaceX's first Falcon Heavy rocket on Feb. 6, 2018.
Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster and Starman cruise away from Earth in this final photo from the car after its launch on SpaceX's first Falcon Heavy rocket on Feb. 6, 2018. (Image credit: SpaceX)

Farewell, Starman. We hardly knew you.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has unveiled the final photo of his Tesla Roadster and its Starman mannequin leaving Earth in the rear-view mirror after launching on the first Falcon Heavy rocket Tuesday (Feb. 6), and the view is spectacular.

The photo, which Musk shared Wednesday on Instagram, shows Starman in the Roadster with the entire Earth in background.

"Last pic of Starman in Roadster on its journey to Mars orbit and then the Asteroid Belt," Musk wrote on Twitter.

Related: Track Tesla in Space

Starman and Musk's Roadster are in an elliptical orbit around the sun. At their closest point to the sun, they will fly just inside the Earth's orbit. At their farthest away, they'll be 243 million miles (390 million kilometers) from the sun.

For comparison, Earth's average distance from the sun is about 93 million miles (150 million km). Mars orbits the sun at 142 million miles (228 million km).

Shortly after SpaceX's Falcon Heavy launched the Roadster into space, three cameras began beaming live views of the car and Starman back to Earth. That webcast lasted 4 hours and 39 minutes before going offline. (We set the most epic views to the rocking tunes of musician Joe Satriani in our videos shown here.)

After reaching orbit, the Roadster coasted through space for about 6 hours before the Falcon Heavy second stage fired up one last time to send the car out into deep space.

Musk said Tuesday that the batteries for the cameras were only expected to last 12 hours, so this is likely the last we'll see of the Roadster and Starman.

So, until we meet again: Godspeed, Starman. Keep on cruising.

Email Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com or follow him @tariqjmalik and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.

Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at Space.com and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.