Saturday, 20 January, 2018

Tesla to revamp in-car navigation system

A car for Mars: Elon Musk shows Tesla Roadster getting ready for Falcon Heavy launch The SpaceX "Mars Rocket" arrives at Cape Canaveral
Cristina Norman | 23 December, 2017, 02:12

Weeks after announcing that he plans to send an original Tesla Roadster to space atop a Falcon Heavy rocket, Elon Musk has released photos of the vehicle being prepped for launch at SpaceX headquarters. Not the most subtle of promotions, for sure.

The photoset on Musk's Instagram account reminds everyone that test flights usually contain mass in the form of concrete or steel blocks to test load capacity. The payload will be an original Tesla Roadster, playing Space Oddity, on a billion year elliptic Mars orbit. The images show the Roadster sitting solidly on top of an aerospace fitting, surrounded by the two-piece payload fairing. SpaceX's current workhorse rocket, the Falcon 9, can lift about 50,000 pounds to low-Earth orbit. He wanted to do something more interesting, so the Falcon Heavy set to launch early next year, which is now at Cape Canaveral to undergo its final pre-launch tests, is being loaded up with a Tesla Roadster (original flavor, not the just-revealed updated edition). Thus, while the release of Tesla's Full Self-Driving feature appears to be delayed, the upcoming navigation overhaul for early 2018 might be the electric carmaker's way of paving the way for more advanced Autopilot features to follow.

But the SpaceX CEO isn't getting carried away with all the excitement surrounding the imminent Falcon Heavy launch, pointing out earlier this year that a lot "can go wrong" with the enormous rocket during its initial, highly complicated missions. And in 2010, he launched a wheel of cheese into orbit during the maiden voyage of Dragon, a spaceship built by SpaceX.

"Just bear in mind that there is a good chance this monster rocket blows up", Musk reportedly told Plait in an email, "so I wouldn't put anything of irreplaceable sentimental value on it".

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