Telescope spots Elon Musk's Tesla flying through space

Musk's intrepid Tesla Roadster, launched by SpaceX, is now being tracked by the Virtual Telescope Project as it ventures beyond the moon's orbit.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
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Elon Musk posted this final photo of his Tesla in space before it lost visuals.

Elon Musk

It didn't take too long for the live camera feed on Elon Musk's cherry-red Tesla Roadster to cut out as the car drove deeper into space. The car was launched on Tuesday from the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket, and Musk posted a farewell photo of the roadster on Instagram on Thursday. But that's not the last look we'll ever get at the Tesla.

The Virtual Telescope Project, which allows for real-time internet access to a group of robotic telescopes, posted a series of images on Friday of the Tesla as seen by the Tenagra Observatories in Arizona. The red roadster appears to the telescope's eye as a tiny white dot.

The Virtual Telescope Project says the Tesla was "quite bright." It released a GIF showing the Tesla moving across space, looking a lot like a comet or asteroid. The GIF strings together 54 images captured by Tenagra.

This animation shows Elon Musk's Tesla zipping away through space.

Gianluca Masi (Virtual Telescope Project)/Michael Schwartz (Tenagra Observatories)

The car isn't all alone out there. It has a dummy named "Starman" dressed in a SpaceX spacesuit at the wheel. While there was some early talk of sending the car to Mars, it will actually settle into its own orbital path around the sun and not end up parked in pieces on the red planet.

The Virtual Telescope Project says it will continue to try to track the Tesla as it ventures farther away. 

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