A Tesla Roadster launched into space with a spacesuit-clad mannequin at the wheel has completed its first lap of the sun.
SpaceX, the aerospace company founded by Elon Musk, was blasted into orbit from Cape Canaveral last year and it is hoped that it will veer close to Mars and Earth during the course of its time among the stars.
According to tracking website Where Is Roadster?, the red sports car has now completed a solar orbit, having been cruising through the void for more than 18 months.
It is a notable milestone for the unorthodox space ranger, the launch of which Mr Musk has described as “probably the most exciting thing I have seen literally ever”.
The car and its driver, dubbed Starman, should end up completing many more laps of the sun in the coming years, with a study estimating that it will be tens of millions of years before it is at risk of slamming into a planet.
Where Is Roadster? has been keeping track of the Tesla ever since it launched, even calculating that its radio would have played the David Bowie hit Life On Mars more than 152,000 times by now if the battery was still working.
The song was playing at the time of launch, and since then the car has travelled far enough to drive every road in the world 34 times.
SpaceX has launched the Falcon Heavy rocket it used to send the Roadster into orbit three times, most recently in June from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
It was carrying a variety of cargo, including satellites, human remains, a deep space atomic clock and rocket fuel test-bed from NASA, and a solar sail from the Planetary Society and Celestis Inc.
The mission has been tipped as the most tricky for SpaceX so far and was ordered by the US Department of Defense, which is hoping to certify the recycled rocket and its boosters for further military-ordered launches.
Source: SKY NEWS