If you’re interested in tracking the whereabouts of the red Tesla Roadster Elon Musk famously (or infamously) launched into space in early February, there’s a website set up to do just that.
WhereIsTheRoadster.com tracks how far the car is from Earth (3.6 million miles), how far it is from Mars (129 million miles), how fast it’s traveling through space (7,000 miles per hour from Earth), various projected orbits and close approaches of planets and car and more.
Musk, CEO of SpaceX, which launches things into space, and Tesla Motors, which made the car, decided to mash up both businesses. The result was to pack a Roadster into the payload of a test launch of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket.
Cameras were mounted on the vehicle to beam back images and video of the car with an astronaut mannequin behind the wheel as the vehicle “drove” around the Earth.
You can watch a playback of the original live feed of the SpaceX rocket and the Tesla in Earth orbit at http://bit.ly/2sSmQRK. At four hours in length, you can get your fill of mesmerizing, high definition, “you are there” video.
Or, do a search on “tesla in space” for numerous informational sites.
It’s A Digital Jungle Out There
A number of my annual “Internet Truths” focus on the fact the Internet is far from private and secure. A spate of recent digital news stories seem to reinforce this observation:
* Hackers hijacked automaker Tesla’s computer system to “mine” cryptocurrency (http://fxn.ws/2FxZ800). This is where portions of an unsuspecting computer system’s resources are surreptitiously siphoned to do the complex calculations to verify and validate digital signatures for genuine cryptocurrency. It costs money to do this kind of computing, so hackers have been stealing the computing time and power of others.
* Scam hijacks Google browser (http://fxn.ws/2FuZKDr). This type of “error and repair” scam has been around for years. You get an error message in your Chrome browser telling you the browser is locked. You’re urged to call a repair number to fix it. The person answering then asks your for personal and financial information, which ultimately leads to your bank account being emptied or your identity stolen. Don’t fall for it. If your browser is locked by this scam, simply end the task in Task Manager (PC) or a force quit (Mac). The link above has more tips on stopping the scam.
* Iran might spy on worldwide smartphones (http://fxn.ws/2ETXoRy). A report by the National Council of Resistance of Iran detailed how the Iranian government is looking to spy on smartphones through infected apps downloaded by unsuspecting users. The initial plan, apparently, is to first test it on Iranian citizens and then expand worldwide.
The common thread in these recent reports is this: Always be vigilant when it comes to the digital world. Look at the sources of seemingly free or benign apps you may want to download. Never trust unexpected messages that suddenly appear on your computer urgin you to call a number for “help.” Never assume anything online is private or protected — not even the biggest or best organizations can avoid being hacked.
Keith Darnay has worked in and written about the online world for more than two decades. His site is at www.darnay.com.