The Space Spotlight: Your Weekly Guide to the Universe (#004)

🚀 Welcome Space Enthusiasts to Another Stellar Week in Cosmic News! 🚀

Are you buckled in? 

This week’s “Space Spotlight” is nothing short of a thrill ride through our ever-expanding cosmic neighbourhood. Think space is just about astronauts and satellites? Oh, let me adjust your orbit a bit.

First off, a standing ovation for India as it makes lunar history. We’re talking about water ice, rovers, and oh-so-intricate landing manoeuvres that will leave you stunned. 

And speaking of being stunned, Elon Musk finds himself embroiled in a geopolitical drama. Let’s just say, if you thought navigating space was tough, wait until you delve into the quagmire of earthly lawsuits and international diplomacy.

As for SpaceX, it’s both rocketing to new heights and facing serious questions back on terra firma. From hiring practises that are causing legal ripples to playing a controversial role in Ukraine, the company is juggling more than just rockets these days.

And let’s not forget Thailand’s Rocket Festival—proof that a love for the cosmos transcends borders and cultures.

👀 Teaser Alert: Our thought-provoking quote of the week questions the very boundaries of reality. It’s like a plot twist in your favourite sci-fi novel, but in real life.

Intrigued yet? Trust me, you’ll want to read on. Scroll down and let’s dive into the celestial events that shook our universe this week!

Well done, India!
(Chandrayaan-3 & Praygan Lunar Landing)

India has accomplished a significant achievement by landing Chandrayaan-3 on the lunar south pole, marking a historical moment not only for the nation but for the entire human race. 

This mission aims to search for water-based ice, potentially supporting future human habitation on the Moon.

The rover, named Pragyan, will analyse the elemental composition of the Moon’s surface, including assessing elements such as magnesium and aluminum. This exploration is regarded as vital for estimating water ice, a resource that could facilitate prolonged human presence on the Moon and aid in future missions to other planets.

The journey of Chandrayaan-3, initiated on July 14 in Sriharikota, southern India, was time-consuming and fraught with technical challenges. Complex manoeuvres were executed for the successful landing at the Moon’s south pole, a feat never achieved before. Precision in tilt and thrust were critical to avoiding mishaps during the landing process.

The mission’s budget of approximately $75 million is noteworthy, being less than the cost of several major films (Gravity, $100 million, The Martian, $108 million, Interstellar, $165 million!). This comparison underscores the efficiency and resourcefulness involved in this groundbreaking project.

Finally, it is worth mentioning, albeit facetiously, that the rover might have had a more challenging task ahead had it been equipped with a “binbag” to collect the debris from Russia’s failed mission days earlier**. However, the focus remains on the impressive and successful efforts of the Indian scientists and the broader implications for space exploration.

**Not dissing the country, but what exactly are the clean-up plans for crashes on the Moon’s surface?…

Elon Musk: Uncle Sam’s New BFF Turned Headache.

  • Screenshot: The New Yorker

SpaceX: It’s not just rockets and Mars; it’s influencing wars here on Earth.

I’ve read this twice – it’s more akin to an action-cum-horror movie, albeit with more satellites than explosions.

The article from The New Yorker examines the complex role that Elon Musk has assumed in international affairs, specifically regarding the Ukrainian conflict. While the Pentagon relied heavily on SpaceX technology to maintain communication lines for Ukrainian forces, Musk retained the capacity to discontinue the service at any moment, leading to heightened concerns among defence officials. 

The report illustrates how Musk, primarily known for his ventures in technology and space exploration, has inadvertently become a significant player in diplomatic circles. His decisions have the potential to influence geopolitical dynamics, even as he manages his various business commitments. 

Authored by Ronan Farrow (the lead investigative journalist behind the Harvey Weinstein story), the piece provides an in-depth look at Musk’s evolving influence in a landscape that merges politics, technology, and global affairs.

(P.S. You can also listen to it – see the option at the top of the article and settle yourself down for an hour of intrigue.)

Thought-provoking Quote

It’s difficult to assign value to discovery when you haven’t sorted out the parameters of reality yet.

(Author) Becky Chambers – To Be Taught, If Fortunate (Sci-Fi)

SpaceX: Shooting for the Stars but Missing the Mark on Earth?

“Data from SpaceX showed that from Sept. 2018 to May 2022, the company hired 10,000 people and only one was an asylee, according to the Dept. of Justice. That asylee was hired four months after the Department of Justice began its investigation, the suit alleged”

– ABC News

The Department of Justice is suing SpaceX for alleged discrimination against asylees and refugees. While Elon Musk usually makes headlines for his cosmic ventures, it seems he’s navigating some (yet more) earthly troubles of his own.

Thailand’s Rocket Festival

When you follow ‘all things space’, you trip over some absolutely charming moments.
If SpaceX goes down, we know where to turn to next (India and Thailand!)


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