Pacific Science Center

Bringing science to life.


PacSci-Doku: “Space First”

By Dennis Schatz – Senior Advisor

Do you Sudoku? It’s one of the hottest number games around! Well, here’s a twist we think you’ll love. We call it PacSci-Doku. Can you guess why? Here’s how it works. Instead of filling in the blanks with numbers, we use letters. Hidden in one of the columns or rows is the answer to a science question. You’ll find information about the answer on the answer tab below.

The question in this edition is:

What is red all over and now in space?

To find the answer, complete this PacSci-Doku using the following nine letters:

E  e  A  T  _  R  L  S  D

PacSci-Doku: "Space First"

The Puzzle

Puzzle Difficulty: Medium

The Answer
PacSci-Doku: "Space First" The Answer

The Answer

The question in this edition is:

What is red all over and now in space?

The answer: Red Tesla

The launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket early in February of this year was the largest privately funded rocket launched to date. It is capable of carrying a fully loaded 737 into space, including its passengers and fuel. No people were on the first launch, but Elon Musk, owner of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, sent his personal red Tesla sports car, along with a manikin space explorer as a driver.

But how long will a roadster designed for Earth’s highways last in space? One might think it will last forever without having to dodge other vehicles or operate the electric engine. But space has hazards that we on the Earth’s surface do not need to deal with, because of the protective magnetic field and atmosphere surrounding the Earth. The Tesla will constantly be bombarded by micrometeorites that usually “burn up” when entering our atmosphere. These collisions will ultimately leave the car chipped and cratered over time. The harsh solar radiation and solar wind, and interstellar cosmic rays that mainly don’t reach the surface of the Earth will slowly disintegrate the car except for some of the most durable metal parts, such as the aluminum frame. Read more about what is likely to happen to the red roadster in space.