It would be tens of millions of years before a crash down on the surface of Earth or Venus would happen for the Tesla car that was sent out into space by Elon Musk.
This was analyzed by Czech and Canadian researchers.
During the next million years, there is a 2.5 per cent probability for the car to hit Venus and a 6 per cent chance of crashing into Earth, calculated the researchers.
However, there is very little reason for being concerned because it would burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere if it were to return back to Earth.
According to the projections and simulations made by the researchers, the vehicle has little or no chance of hitting Mars while it has a minimal chance of colliding with the Sun.
The car was launched on February 6 by US entrepreneur Musk on the new rocket built by his company Falcon Heavy– which is the most powerful rocket at present.
Musk’s old cherry-red Tesla sports car was selected as the payload for the experimental flight.
The driver’s seat had a space-suited mannequin while a David Bowie soundtrack was set to be played on a loop on the radio.
An elliptical orbit around the Sun was chosen for it which extends out till Mars.
The orbit that would emerge for the car over the next 3.5 million years was worked out by a computer simulation that was run for 240 time by Dr Hanno Rein and colleagues.
“We did not know what to expect because the other near-Earth objects we see in space are asteroids and typically come from further out in the Solar System. In this case, it’s the reverse. We know the object comes from Earth, so the question is where will it go from here,” Dr Rein, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto, said.
“There were two possibilities, either it would stay with the terrestrial planets of the inner Solar System, or it would go further out where all these other asteroids and other Kuiper Belt objects are.”
Once every 30 years, the Tesla will make close passes of the Earth.
The issue of whether the car could be drawn outwards by long-term gravitational interactions – which are referred to as strong resonances – that exists between the car and giant planets like Jupiter, was a point of interest of the researchers.
Instead, close encounters with Earth dominate the short and long timescales of the car’s orbit. The car would interact more with Venus after a period of time.
There are concerns about the sports car crashing down on the Red Planet Mars and thereby contaminating the plane with terrestrial bacteria which would make it difficult for scientists to track down indigenous microbes there. But these fears were allayed by Dr Rein. “This thing will be in space for several million years before it hits anything,” he said.
“It’s a very small object so I’m not sure how easy it will be to observe it over a year or so – I think it will be very faint,” said Dr Rein.
“But the next time it comes back to a relatively close distance to Earth, 30 years from now, it would be fun to see if we could find it again.”
(Adapted from BBC.com)