Photos: Elon Musk Reveals Red Tesla Roadster That SpaceX Will Launch to Mars

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy is the world's most powerful rocket. SpaceX

Elon Musk is the founder and CEO of several companies, the two most prominent of which are SpaceX and Tesla. Elon Musk has now revealed images from his plan to use a SpaceX rocket to launch a Tesla Roadster into space, and then into "a billion-year elliptic Mars orbit." Elon Musk is a very rich man.

In a recent Instagram post, Musk shared a series of seven photos of a cherry red Tesla Roadster being fitted onto a Falcon Heavy Rocket. Similar images had leaked to Reddit a few hours before he published the post.

All Teslas are Musk's Teslas in a sense, but we know this Tesla is Musk's personal Tesla because Musk enjoys toying with the non-billionaire, non-rocket-owning masses on social media. Musk previously tweeted about launching his personal Tesla into space on December 1. In the wake of the tweet, which some weren't sure whether to read as an announcement or a joke, the Verge eventually confirmed that the plan Musk referred to was real.

Musk has been dropping hints like these for a while. In April 2017, in response to public curiosity about what the secret payload (the object being launched) would be for the upcoming Falcon Heavy launch, Musk tweeted that it would be the "[s]illiest thing we can imagine!" The payload for the first-ever SpaceX Dragon flight was a giant wheel of cheese.

In the latest Instagram post, Musk continued that theme, writing that the usual test flight payloads were boring lumps of steel or concrete, and that "anything boring is terrible," a refrain he makes often in one form or another. (In 2016, Musk founded The Boring Company to tackle traffic congestion and ailing infrastructure in Los Angeles.)

Payload will be my midnight cherry Tesla Roadster playing Space Oddity. Destination is Mars orbit. Will be in deep space for a billion years or so if it doesn’t blow up on ascent.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 2, 2017

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy is the most powerful rocket in the world, "designed from the outset" to carry crewed missions into space, including to the moon and Mars, according to the SpaceX website.

The car isn't going to Mars, but near Mars. As Musk told SyFy earlier this month, the Roadster will theoretically enter what's known as a Hohmann transfer orbit—the elliptical billion-year route from Earth's orbit to Mars's orbit and back again that he referred to in his Instagram post.

The "red car for a red planet" phase is a throwback to an earlier Twitter post, too. SpaceX had hoped to launch the Falcon Heavy before the end of 2017 (delays to the maiden flight have been piling up since 2015) but it's since been pushed to early 2018. The launch could come as soon as January, per a tweet from venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson, a former SpaceX and Tesla board member.

Red Roadster for Mars!

Elon's car is ready for the maiden flight of the Falcon Heavy in January, taking a billion year elliptic Mars orbit. The cavernous carbon fiber fairing closes like a clam shell to form the bulbous nose of the Rocket. From Elon:

— Steve Jurvetson (@FutureJurvetson) December 22, 2017