Elon Musk's decision to sent a Tesla Roadster into space with his Falcon Heavy launch has raised some criticisms.
A cherry red Tesla Roadster sports car is currently floating through space with a manequin at the wheel, the result of a tongue in cheek decision by SpaceX founder Elon Musk when he launched the Falcon Heavy rocket for the first time last month. But a ton of critics have emerged online to slam the decision, for a variety of very, very silly reasons.
The purpose of the car was to act as a dummy payload for the launch of the Falcon Heavy. Since it was just a test flight and not an actual mission to space, the rocket would need something to simulate weight it would normally be launching into space. So Musk decided it would be fun to use one of his Tesla Roadsters as the weight, and the result was a spectacular media event that was watched all around the world with amazement.
But the critics soon emerged online, as they often do, and while it was not hard to find someone complaining about the decision, it was hard to find a common theme in the complaints. It was a buffet of grievances, ranging from everything to adding space junk to boosting Musk’s ego to a free car commercial to destroying an expensive vehicle when that money could have gone to starving children, or something.
It’s bad because it’s a car commercial: “About Elon’s big day… this is a car commercial in space. Everyone: pls stop participating,” said Twitter user Naomi Klein, who didn’t elaborate on exactly what the problem with that was.
It’s bad because it’s just a stunt: “Uh… wut? Now that’s an utterly useless stunt to promise for a rocket that’s never flown to reach a destination the company’s never delivered to…” said Mika McKinnon, again not really going into detail on why that is necessasrily a bad thing.
It’s bad because it’s an ego boost for Musk: “For me the car is Elon’s way of taking an incredible achievement made possible by the hard work and sacrifice of his employees and making it solely about himself,” wrote Mike Seibert, apparently not buying into the possibility that it might actually call attention to the hard work of Tesla employees in addition to those at SpaceX.
It’s bad because it’s wasteful: “As a guy who would never be able to afford a Tesla, I’m so glad to know one has been turned into space junk for absolutely no reason,” writes Stacy Stevenson, who is apparently upset that a car he admits he will never own is now in space.
As it turns out, people get really, really mad about stunts like this when they involve space, for some reason. It calls to mind the recent controversy over the Humanity Star satellite, which was nothing more than an object circling our Earth that would be visible from the ground. It had no purpose beyond that, and many criticized it for being space junk.
So remember: all of the attention lately and interest in spaceflight caused by the Falcon Heavy’s launch and the bizarre sight of a Tesla Roadster with a fake spaceman in the driver’s seat was not worth it, because we had to destroy a car and Musk got to feel good about it.
Never change, Twitter.