SpaceX to send Tesla to Mars in test of new rocket

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SpaceX has launched a Tesla Roadster into space on a journey to Mars from Florida, as a test of its new Falcon Heavy rocket.

The novel payload is being used to gather data on the biggest rocket since the moon landing's Saturn V booster.

Falcon Heavy is set to become the world's most powerful rocket in use. 

Phil Larson is an assistant dean of engineering and applied science at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

"Falcon Heavy will be the biggest rocket since the Saturn V moon booster. It's not quite that big but it's on the path to enabling that kind of exploration, whether it's the moon or Mars, basically beyond low-Earth orbit."

To add to the excitement, SpaceX chief Elon Musk put a cherry-red Tesla Roadster on board. 

He's striving to put the car into a perpetual solar orbit reaching out as far as Mars, the focus of all his rocket efforts as he aims to establish a city there in years to come.

"Any new rocket system's first launch is going to be all about gathering data and so you don't want to put a mission critical payload on it, so Elon (Musk) is having a little fun and putting his first Tesla roadster, his first car as the payload and sending it on kind of a fun journey into Mars orbit while playing a David Bowie song. So, having a little fun but it's really all about gathering data on this first launch of a new rocket system."

It's also reported that Musk is aiming to land spaceships on Mars in 2022 and then ones transporting people in 2024. 

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