So, Elon Musk sent a car into space.
That isn’t the most brow-raising news, however. Even more intriguing than the car floating in space is the perfect pop culture references littered all over it.
On Tuesday, the billionaire launched his bright red Tesla Roadster into orbit attached to his first SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket, with the goal of making it to Mars. While the car’s purpose was cool enough, it was the hidden messages included that make it all the more special. Piloting the car with the top down, for starters, is dummy rocking a space suit aptly named “Starman.” Musk chose the name in honor of David Bowie’s classic 1972 song. Additionally, on the center console of the car reads “DON’T PANIC!” which is a nod to Musk’s favorite sci-fi novel.
In a 2013 interview, he revealed that Douglas Adams’ “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” was a key book for him growing up.
“I read ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ which is quite positive I think and it highlighted an important point which is that a lot of times the question is harder than the answer,” he said. “And if you can properly phrase the question, then the answer is the easy part.”
He added, “So, to the degree that we can better understand the universe, then we can better know what questions to ask. Then whatever the question is that most approximates: what’s the meaning of life? That’s the question we can ultimately get closer to understanding.” The existential novel — about a man who accidentally became a space traveller — features a cover with the same words.
Those who caught the neat reference shared their enthusiasm on Twitter.
“Congratulations @elonmusk and #SpaceX – how I wish Douglas Adams were alive to see ‘Don’t Panic’ in large friendly letters on the Tesla That was a classy addition,” tweeted actor Stephen Fry. He served as the narrator of the 2005 film version of the novel.
Another Twitter user called the homage it “[geek-tastic].”
Musk showed off one last message, but this one for any lucky extraterrestials who might happen upon his car. Musk had “Made on Earth by humans” printed on a circuit board in the car.