Outside the Box: Tesla’s space-cruising Roadster is carrying a huge load of Earth’s germs

The recent launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket not only carried Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s personal red Roadster into interplanetary space — but also a huge load of assorted Earth life.

NASA’s Planetary Protection Policy has long dictated that all space probes with any chance of reaching another planet should be as clean as possible, if not sterile. Musk’s red car, however, had cruised the streets of California, inevitably picking up a cross section of Earth life on its tires, wheels and interior upholstery, plus Musk’s personal entourage of microbiota. Tesla TSLA, -2.44% hasn’t commented on whether any attempt was made to reduce the biologic load of this microbial Noah’s Ark before launch, but odds are that the car is transporting the largest load of Earth life ever to fly into interplanetary space.

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