Tesla's newly unveiled electric pickup truck has some off-Earth flavor, according to Elon Musk.
"Tesla Cybertruck (pressurized edition) will be official truck of Mars," the SpaceX and Tesla CEO said via Twitter yesterday afternoon (Nov. 21), about six hours before showing the vehicle to the world during a webcast event.
And the Red Planet connection doesn't exist merely in Musk's head. The body of the Cybertruck will be cold-rolled stainless steel, just like that of Starship, the 165-foot-tall (50 meters) spacecraft that SpaceX is developing to help humanity colonize Mars.
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Tesla Cybertruck (pressurized edition) will be official truck of MarsNovember 21, 2019
"We’re going to be using the same alloy in the Starship rocket and the Cybertruck," Musk said during the reveal last night.
That reveal was memorable, and not just because the sharp-angled Tesla truck looks like no other vehicle on the market. (During a talk earlier this month at the U.S. Air Force's Space Pitch Day in San Francisco, Musk said the Cybertruck "looks like an armored personnel carrier from the future.")
Tesla's chief designer, Franz von Holzhausen, bashed the truck's door with a sledgehammer to show how tough it is. But a similar demonstration with the windows went awry; von Holzhausen threw a metal ball at the truck twice, breaking a window each time. "We'll fix it in post," a surprised Musk joked.
You can order a Cybertruck now, though the vehicle won't be available until late 2021. Starship, meanwhile, could start launching satellites to Earth orbit that same year if development goes smoothly, SpaceX representatives have said.
There was a bit of a hiccup this week, however: SpaceX's first-ever full-size Starship prototype, known as the Mk1, blew its top during a pressure test on Wednesday (Nov. 20). SpaceX had already decided not to test-fly that vehicle and is now focusing on building Mk3 Starship iterations, which will launch to Earth orbit, company representatives said.
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Mike Wall's book about the search for alien life, "Out There" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), is out now. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.