Here's how Elon Musk will get his Tesla Roadster to Mars

It'll take a SpaceX Falcon Heavy, but with a little luck, Musk's red Roadster could be the first car to get to Mars.

Tim Stevens Former editor at large for CNET Cars
Tim Stevens got his start writing professionally while still in school in the mid '90s, and since then has covered topics ranging from business process management to video game development to automotive technology.
Tim Stevens
2 min read

It's probably going to be a few decades yet before people are actually driving on Mars, but that's not stopping Elon Musk from showing the world how two of his companies will work hand-in-hand to get the first car to Mars -- even if it likely will never touch down.

Musk just shared a video from SpaceX showing off the launch sequence of the company's Falcon Heavy rocket, which will lift off Tuesday. The Heavy, which consists of three of the company's Falcon 9 rockets joined together, will send very special cargo to Mars: a Roadster. 

The Roadster was Tesla's first car, essentially an electric conversion of a Lotus Elise that the company produced from 2008 until 2012. But the one going to Mars won't be any Roadster. It'll be Musk's own car, one that just happens to be red. It'll even have a passenger, a dummy named "Starman" at the wheel, looking super-casual with one hand hanging out of the window.

If all goes well, the Roadster "will be in deep space for a billion years or so," Musk shared on Twitter -- "if it doesn't blow up on ascent." Given this will be the first full test launch of Falcon Heavy, blowing up is a real possibility. But with SpaceX's successes of late we wouldn't bet against the company. The good news is we can all see how it goes live: Here's how.

As to the next-generation Tesla Roadster, no word on when SpaceX might send those to Mars, but with a 0 - 60 time of just 1.9 seconds, lucky owners of the $250,000 electric supercar will be able to achieve escape velocity right here at home.