I'm sorry I have to ask this question but I need evidence for a friend. My answer to her that I trust people who specialize in the field to know better than me is 'BS' to her.

So to begin... My friend believes the earth is flat. She believes NASA is fake. And now she thinks the Elon Musk Falcon Heavy launch wasn't real (well maybe the launch in the Earth's atmosphere) but the car in space was completely fake. She wants me to research and provide evidence that it was real and a car can exist in space. I know I know, many people say it's not worth the time but I truly care for this person and have to see this through. Plus if we're not trying to educate the world aren't we kind of being hypocritical? Yes? Haha ok here we go...

So the main point I'd need to have scientific evidence of is can the car exist in space. Her points...

  • a car would be destroyed in a vacuum
  • elon says "you know it's real because it looks so fake"
  • outgassing
  • the car goes from a room into space
  • did you see the photo of it from launch
  • you know how much money it takes to “launch” something into space
  • you think he just did that to have it “orbit for 1 billion years” that is literally so dumb it’s incomprehensible
  • engineering teams never see the satellites launch ‘they just build them’
  • look at the car - put the image in a photoshop editor - it’s worse than avatar special effects
  • you think there are just cameras fixed to some car that’s literally just cruising around space and there’s not debris next to it from the rocket and there are no shots of the camera attachment from one side of the car to the other
  • uber has 6000 engineers, they don’t know any of what uber is actually doing, they all do pieces of it, that isn’t even a valid argument, there’s only a portion of every business that knows anything, you think they send a brief to 6000 employees that they are going to do a launch
  • next piece of evidence https://www.livescience.com/61690-why-spacex-roadster-looks-fake.html everyone thinks it looks fake, even elon, and his excuse is “the colors are more crisp in space”, and then people just believe that??
  • you need to watch the footage again and wonder why there are articles upon articles explaining why “it looks fake”, when you don't think yourself it does
  • I said I trust experts and asked who she trusts which she responded...no one, but that’s why i ask questions, to myself included, “do i think this looks real?” no, why?, “because of X Y and Z”, okay why is x this, research look, ask, repeat, always
  • i expect this from you too - outgassing, photo editor images, see what has been previously launched
  • look to see where the cameras are in the different angles
  • instead of me asking you to research why it’s fake, you can instead tell me what you researched to show you it’s real, i will listen - i did this - your turn
  • i don’t want any of the “trusting people” “watched it live” bull that’s not evidence, I’ll wait

enter image description here enter image description here

Have a field day ladies & gents ;) and if you could provide resources to anything that would possibly help educate and validate your answer I'd be moooore than appreciated.


closed as off-topic by Kyle Oman, John Rennie, valerio, knzhou, Emilio Pisanty Feb 9 '18 at 9:19

  • This question does not appear to be about physics within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Extraordinary claims necessitate extraordinary evidence. It should be her to provide experimental evidence for her claim, not you. $\endgroup$ – valerio Feb 9 '18 at 7:56
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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is not a question about physics $\endgroup$ – John Rennie Feb 9 '18 at 8:04
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    $\begingroup$ why fight on something so complicated and not on the simple numerous satellites around the earth? peakprosperity.com/blog/… they take photos of disaster areas around the globe? how can they stay up there if newton's theory does not work? etc. $\endgroup$ – anna v Feb 9 '18 at 8:11
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    $\begingroup$ The only way to convince somebody in this position is to befriend them and talk about literally anything else. In five years, if their friends are mostly science-believers like you, their identity may have changed a bit. You can have the debate then. $\endgroup$ – knzhou Feb 9 '18 at 8:54
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    $\begingroup$ Most points in this list are not claims and make no sense as arguments. What does "outgassing" mean? What is "did you see the photo of it from launch" doing on this list? Why is "the car goes from a room into space" an issue? How do you know that "a car would be destroyed in a vacuum"; satellites have no problem in space so why would a car be destroyed? A few of the points are interesting, but you can easily start form one end and ask her why should that be an issue and what do you mean in many of the cases. $\endgroup$ – Steeven Feb 9 '18 at 9:55

First of all, the burden of proof is on her, not you. She's the one who's going against consensus, so she's the one who actually needs to prove her points with evidence. But she probably won't listen to that, so let's refute her points, one by one, as concisely as possible:

  • A car wouldn't actually be destroyed in a vacuum, especially not a convertible. The only way a vacuum would destroy an object is if it contained some pressurized gas and was dependent on atmospheric pressure to keep itself from blowing apart. Since we're dealing with a convertible electric car here (so no gas tank or air intake for the engine, either), there's no air anywhere except the tires. The tires are built to withstand substantial pressure anyway, and atmospheric pressure is only 15 psi. So if the tires were 15 psi below their absolute maximum rated pressure, then there's no reason they'd explode.

  • Irrelevant. Elon Musk says stupid things.

  • Outgassing is a process that occurs slowly, especially in cold environments. When I used to do a lot of vacuum testing, the only way you could make outgassing happen at any reasonable rate is by "baking out" the chamber at several hundred degrees, waiting a few days, and then coming back. In the cold vacuum of space, its effects are negligible over short time periods.

  • That "room" was a capsule. If it wasn't in there, it would have been damaged by atmospheric friction on the way up. On top of that, the car's asymmetric shape would have messed up the rocket's aerodynamics in an unpredictable way, so it was easier and safer all around to place it in a capsule.

  • Not sure what's being asked here.

  • It takes a lot of money. Elon Musk also has a lot of money. He makes money through marketing stunts that make investors want to give him more money. This was one of those stunts.

  • It was part marketing stunt, part "because he could." It's the same reason people climb Mount Everest, and they don't usually get much flak for that.

  • As someone who is friends with a bunch of aerospace engineers, they absolutely do see the things that they built launch. That's most of the reason they're in the field they're in.

  • No it isn't. You're just not used to photos where there's no atmosphere.

  • The rocket staging was carefully planned so that debris would not hit anything. On top of that, anything that's jettisoned in the atmosphere is immediately slowed down by aerodynamic drag, to the point where it's not in any danger of hitting the car. As far as the camera attachment, there are several shots where you can see it. It's actually visible in the reflection from the door in the livestream at the moment.

enter image description here

  • Yes, companies are big. But company-wide memos are also a thing.

  • Photos in the absence of atmosphere really do look different. It's the same reason photos taken underwater look different.

  • Just because it looks fake doesn't mean it is fake. Space is a strange place, after all.

  • [Nothing to refute, seems to be the transcript of a conversation]

  • See above.

  • There are plenty of shots from the livestream, many of which are at different angles, and many of which show the different camera arms. There appear to be three cameras; one is built into the passenger seat, one is suspended on an arm off to the side, and one is suspended on an arm off to the front. The arm to the front is brilliantly lit up by this shot:

enter image description here

  • Burden of proof is on her. That's how logic works. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

  • Everything I've laid down here is either basic physics that you can get from any textbook, or common sense.

  • Microscopic etching only destroys things after a very long time, much longer than the timespan of the video. (Hence the word "microscopic".) Same with radiation damage - it's a worry when you want to build a space station that will last 20 years, but not when you're putting a car in space with some cameras until people stop watching.

  • This is part marketing stunt. You have to spend money to make (people give you) money; and as long as he can keep convincing investors to give him money, then it really doesn't matter how much money his companies lose. You should definitely ask for a source on that "taxpayer money" claim.

  • $\begingroup$ +1, if nothing else for the thoroughly enjoyable writing style: I had quite a few chuckles. The simple explantion: this whole thing is utterly easey-peasey compared with what most launches do. I find it quite comical that Musk uses a one tonne automobile as payload to show off a heavy lifting rocket's capabilities: the phrase damnation through faint praise springs to mind. I would have thought a fifty tonne teapot with a portrait of Bertrand Russell on it would have been far more appropriate. And with huge retroreflectors on it so we can always find it again. That's what I would have done. $\endgroup$ – WetSavannaAnimal Feb 13 '18 at 2:29

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