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Elon Musk's space car might be destroyed within the year

Indy 100 logoIndy 100 11-02-2018 Greg Evans
a close up of a car © Provided by Independent Print Limited

Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster has been in space for less than a week and while things are going ok there could be trouble ahead. 

The car, complete with a mannequin named Starman, was blasted into space thanks to the technologically advanced rocket Falcon Heavy on Tuesday.

The launch went without a hitch but by Wednesday Musk had tweeted that the car had overshot its intended target of Mars and was heading towards the asteroid belt.

However, that's not the only thing he should be concerned with because experts believe that radiation could destroy the vehicle within a year. 

Due to the radiation that exists in space the carbon elements of the car, such as plastic both on the vehicle and Starman won't survive.

That's according to Indiana University chemist William Carroll, who told Live Science

All of the organics will be subjected to degradation by the various kinds of radiation that you will run into there.

[Those materials] are made up of carbon-carbon bonds and carbon-hydrogen bonds.

Exposure to radiation of those levels can cause those bonds to break as if they were being cut by a knife.

In addition to carbon elements, organic materials like rubber and paint will begin to fade and flake away into space. 

Carroll adds:

When you cut something with a knife, in the end, you're cutting some chemical bonds.

Those organics, in that environment, I wouldn't give them a year.

In fact, the only things that are likely to survive is the car's aluminium frame and any metals or glass. 

Unlike specialist spacecraft, the Roadster has no sort of protection against radiation meaning that most of the car could be worn away quite soon.

There is also the chance that it could run into debris or the aforementioned asteroid belt before it reaches the orbit of Mars or beyond.

There were hopes that the car would be able to survive for a billion years in space, but should it ever be spotted again it is unlikely to resemble its original form.

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