Sam Bankman-Fried Admits the "Ethics Stuff" Was "Mostly a Front"

In Twitter DMs, FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried appeared to admit that his

Effecting Change

The disgraced former head of the crypto exchange FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, built his formidable public persona on the idea that he was a new type of ethical crypto exec. In particular, he was a vocal proponent of "effective altruism" — the vague-but-noble concept of using data to make philanthropic giving as targeted and helpful as possible.

But in a direct message, Vox's Kelsey Piper asked Bankman-Fried if the "ethics stuff" had been "mostly a front."

Bankman-Fried's reply: "Yeah."

"I mean that's not *all* of it," he wrote. "But it's a lot."

Truth Be Told

If the concept of becoming rich to save the world strikes you as iffy, you're not alone — and it appears that even Bankman-Fried himself knows it.

When Piper observed that Bankman-Fried had been "really good at talking about ethics" while actually playing a game, he responded that he "had to be" because he'd been engaged in "this dumb game we woke Westerners play where we say all the right shibboleths and everyone likes us."

Next time you're thinking of investing in crypto, maybe it's worth taking a moment to wonder whether the person running the next exchange might secretly be thinking the same thing.

More on effective altruism: Elon Musk Hired A Professional Gambler to Manage His Philanthropic Donations

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Sam Bankman-Fried Admits the "Ethics Stuff" Was "Mostly a Front"

Elon Musk Locks Twitter Employees Out Office, Then Asks Them to Meet Him on the 10th Floor

Elon Musk's ownership of Twitter is somehow going even worse than expected amid reports that he's locked employees out of the company's office buildings.

Worst Case Scenario

Elon Musk's Twitter-buying experiment is somehow going even worse than expected, amid reports that he's locked employees out of the company's office buildings.

As reported by Platformer's Zoë Schiffer, an email sent to Twitter staff yesterday evening informed them out of the blue that they wouldn't be able to get into their offices for the rest of the week.

"We're hearing this is because Elon Musk and his team are terrified employees are going to sabotage the company," Schiffer wrote. "Also, they're still trying to figure out which Twitter workers they need to cut access for."

Then, the saga somehow got even stranger today when Musk emailed staff asking them to come to the 10th floor of Twitter's headquarters — which, remember, they'd just been told they were locked out of — for a meeting on the 10th floor.


All told, the aura of chaos surrounding Twitter since Musk's acquisition late last month has deepened to a comical degree.

News of the office closure, you'll recall, comes not long after Musk issued an ultimatum to the staff who survived his first purge the company's employees, in which he said that if "tweeps" didn't come into the office, they would be effectively tendering their resignations.

Just before the office closure announcement, Musk gave his new employees another apparent threat: that if they are not prepared "to be extremely hardcore" and work long in-office hours, they can cut and run with three months severance.

Unsurprisingly, many Twitter employees have chosen the latter — a move that some described to CNN's Darcy as a "mass exodus."

And in the face of all this contradiction and whiplash, who could blame them?

More on Musk: Panicked Elon Musk Reportedly Begging Engineers Not to Leave

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Elon Musk Locks Twitter Employees Out Office, Then Asks Them to Meet Him on the 10th Floor

NASA Tells Astronauts That Tweeting Isn’t As Important as Staying Alive

NASA's astronaut social media handbook just dropped — and they've got some staunch guidelines for safely tweeting on the ISS.

Stayin' Alive

NASA's astronaut social media handbook just dropped — and they've got some staunch guidelines for space tweeting.

As part of a public records request, NASA released to Vox an almost entirely unredacted copy of its current social media handbook for astronauts, and it offers a fascinating look into the agency's policies for the online astronauts it sends to space.

Overall, it's a reasonable document. One particularly interesting detail? It advises astronauts to please lay off of posting when their lives are in jeopardy. Good advice for us all!


In a 2018 memo from the Johnson Space Center included in the records provided to Vox, NASA notes that along with not posting for personal or financial gain or exposing state secrets, "social media efforts should always be considered secondary to the safety of the crew and vehicle."

In another section of the guidelines, a slide reminds astronauts that "social media is voluntary and should be considered secondary to safety of mission and crew cohesion."


Beyond bodily safety, political discretion is also repeatedly advised in the guidelines — an important detail, given the past and current tensions between the ISS' main players, the United States and Russia.

While some have criticized NASA for doing a bit too much social networking — the agency operates a whopping 700 social media accounts, including on Reddit, Twitch, and LinkedIn — it clearly takes a backseat to onboard safety.

Given how much can go wrong on both a mortal and interpersonal level while floating above the Earth, that's definitely a good thing.

More on the ISS: Amazing Video Shows What the ISS Would Look Like If It Flew at the Height of a Jetplane

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Celebrities Are Officially Being Sued by FTX Retail Investors

The first civil suit against the crypto exchange FTX was just filed, naming FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, and 11 of FTX's many celebrity ambassadors.

Welp, that didn't take long. The first civil suit against the still-imploding crypto exchange FTX was just filed in a Florida court, accusing FTX, disgraced CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, and 11 of the exchange's many celebrity ambassadors of preying on "unsophisticated" retail investors.

The list of celeb defendants impressive — honestly, it reads more like an invite list to a posh award show than a lawsuit.

Geriatric quarterback Tom Brady and soon-to-be-ex-wife Gisele Bündchen lead the pack, followed by basketball players Steph Curry and Udonis Haslem, as well as the Golden State Warriors franchise; tennis star Naomi Osaka; baseballers Shoehi Ohtani, Udonis Haslem, and David Ortiz; and quarterback Trevor Laurence.

Also named is comedian Larry David — who starred in that FTX Super Bowl commercial that very specifically told investors that even if they didn't understand crypto, they should definitely invest — and investor Kevin O'Leary of "Shark Tank" fame.

"The Deceptive and failed FTX Platform," reads the suit," "was based upon false representations and deceptive conduct."

"Many incriminating FTX emails and texts... evidence how FTX’s fraudulent scheme was designed to take advantage of unsophisticated investors from across the country," it continues. "As a result, American consumers collectively sustained over $11 billion dollars in damages."

Indeed, a number of FTX promos embraced an attitude similar to the cursed Larry David commercial. In one, Steph Curry tells viewers that with FTX, there's no need to be an "expert," while a Naomi Osaka promotion pushed the idea that crypto trading should be "accessible," "easy," and "fun."

It's also worth noting that this isn't the first suit of its kind. Billionaire Mark Cuban, also of "Shark Tank" fame, was named in a class action lawsuit launched against the bankrupt lender Voyager in August, while reality TV star Kim Kardashian was recently made to pay a roughly $1.2 million fine for hawking the "EthereumMAX" token without disclosing that she was paid to do so.

The FTX suit, however, appears to be the most extensive — and high-profile — of its kind. And while a fine for a million or two is basically a one dollar bill to this tax bracket, $11 billion, even if split amongst a group of 11 exorbitantly wealthy celebs, is a more substantial chunk of change.

Of course, whether anyone actually ever has to pay up remains to be seen. Regardless, it's still a terrible look, and real people got hurt. If there's any defense here, though? At least they didn't promise to be experts.

READ MORE: FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried hit with class-action lawsuit that also names Brady, Bündchen, Shaq, Curry [Fox Business]

More on the FTX crash: Experts Say Sam Bankman-fried's Best Legal Defense Is to Say He's Just Really, Really Stupid

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Celebrities Are Officially Being Sued by FTX Retail Investors

NASA Drops Stunning New James Webb Image of a Star Being Born

The James Webb Space Telescope just released an image of a star being born, and it gives Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper a run for their money.

Birth Canal

The James Webb Space Telescope's latest mind-bending image just dropped — and this one is, in a word, splendid.

As NASA notes in a blog post about the finding, the telescope's Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) was put to incredible use when capturing the "once-hidden features" of the beginnings of a star.

Known as "protostars," celestial objects like this one — found inside an uber-absorbant "dark nebula" cloud — are not yet stars, but will be soon. In short, the Webb telescope capture imagery of a star being born.

As NASA notes, the fledgling star itself is hidden within the tiny "neck" disk of the spectacular, fiery hourglass shape in the image — which is, as NASA notes, "about the size of our solar system" — and the colorful lights seen below and above this neck are emitted by the protostar's birth.

Countdown to a new star ?

Hidden in the neck of this “hourglass” of light are the very beginnings of a new star — a protostar. The clouds of dust and gas within this region are only visible in infrared light, the wavelengths that Webb specializes in:

— NASA Webb Telescope (@NASAWebb) November 16, 2022

Stellar Anatomy

While this incredible capture is not the first time space telescopes have observed star birth, Webb's latest does provide an incredible look at the phenomenon.

"The surrounding molecular cloud is made up of dense dust and gas being drawn to the center, where the protostar resides," the post reads. "As the material falls in, it spirals around the center. This creates a dense disk of material, known as an accretion disk, which feeds material to the protostar."

Some of that material, NASA notes, are "filaments of molecular hydrogen that have been shocked as the protostar ejects material away from it," most of which the stellar fetus takes for itself. It continues to feed on that material, growing more massive and compressing further until its core temperature rises to the point that it kickstarts nuclear fusion.

This gorgeous peek at that process is extraordinary to witness — and a yet another testament to the power of the mighty James Webb.

More on Webb: NASA Fixes Months-Long Issue With Webb Telescope

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NASA Drops Stunning New James Webb Image of a Star Being Born

Ticketmaster May Have Finally Met Its Match: Furious Swifties

The notorious ticket selling service Ticketmaster botched the pre-sale of tickets for Taylor Swift's upcoming tour. Now, everyone's calling for its head.

The notorious ticket peddling service Ticketmaster has never been a fan favorite, and anyone who's ever bought a concert ticket there can attest to why. Preposterous prices, slimy junk fees, and terrible customer service are just a few of its mundane evils. In spite of how universally reviled it is, Ticketmaster has persisted as the king of the box office. But now, it's facing its worst PR nightmare in years — and that's saying something. Why? It made the fatal error of pissing off Taylor Swift fans, or "Swifties."

Swift's "Eras Tour," which will have her perform at over 50 venues in the US alone, is set to be one of the biggest music events on the planet. Biding their time, her fiercely loyal fanbase — probably the largest of any single artist and easily the most vocal online — have been waiting since 2018 for her next headlining tour. So, looking to guarantee a spot, many of them signed up for Ticketmaster's Verified Fans program, a system which was supposed to only allow a select amount of around 1.5 million real fans — as opposed to scalper bots — to buy tickets ahead of time.

It didn't work. Ticketmaster CEO Michael Rapino told The Hollywood Reporter that around 14 million users, some of them bots, rushed to buy pre-sale tickets this week, and it pretty much broke the service. Parts of the website immediately crashed, leaving millions either waiting for hours or suffering through a miserable, glitchy experience — only for some to be told they couldn't buy a ticket anyway even though they were verified. In total, Ticketmaster was barraged with 3.5 billion system requests, which is nearly half the population of the Earth and four times its previous peak.

Even with all the difficulties, it did manage to sell around two million tickets — but it's unclear how many of those went to actual, verified Swifties and how many went to scalpers.

And we suspect that Ticketmaster has made way more than that in the form of enemies. Search its name on social media right now, and you'll be returned with swarms of complaints from ardent Swifties and Ticketmaster haters crawling out of the woodwork.

To make matters worse, the maligned seller abruptly informed fans via Twitter that it would be canceling the sale of tickets to the general public originally planned for Friday, "due to extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand."

With Ticketmaster shutting its doors, vulturous resellers who gobbled up tickets during the presale pandemonium remain the only alternative for fans, selling them at outrageous amounts as high as $28,000, Reuters reports.

Exceptionally crummy service isn't exactly a scandal in itself, but the magnitude of Ticketmaster's mishandling of the situation — and the blatant scalping it's enabled — has brought significant attention to the company's nefarious practices and its stranglehold on the market.

Now, politicians are jumping on the Swifties' grievances to call for Ticketmaster's head.

"Daily reminder that Ticketmaster is a monopoly, [its] merger with LiveNation should never have been approved, and they need to be [reined] in," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), in a tweet. "Break them up."

"It's no secret that Live Nation-Ticketmaster is an unchecked monopoly," echoed Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-RI), the chair of the House Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law.

"The merger of these companies should never have been allowed in the first place," Cicilline added, stating that he's joining others to call on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to "investigate LiveNation’s efforts to jack up prices and strangle competition."

Ticketmaster was already a behemoth in the 90s when Pearl Jam — then one of the biggest bands in the world — tried to take them on. Eddie Vedder and his bandmates certainly made the concert corporation sweat for a time, but since then, it's only grown. In 2010, it merged with LiveNation, once its largest competitor and now Ticketmaster's parent company. Critics, like AOC and Cicilline, argue that this merger was in blatant violation of antitrust laws.

Monopolistic behavior aside, as well as frequently bullying artists and venues to give into its tyrannical demands, consumers don't have to dig very far to realize Ticketmaster is ripping them off. Buy a ticket on there and it could charge you a significant portion of the ticket price in service and other junk fees.

Another culprit? Its dynamic pricing model, infamously used in other industries like airline tickets and hotels, in which prices are continuously adjusted in real time based on demand. As a result, ticket prices are not made public before a sale begins. In theory, dynamic pricing is meant to make predatory resellers obsolete by keeping prices competitive. But really, it's just a good excuse for Ticketmaster to match its prices with that of ludicrous resellers and pocket the extra cash.

Furthermore, at least one 2018 investigation by CBC found that Ticketmaster was quietly recruiting professional scalpers into its reseller program, and turned a blind eye to them using hundreds of fake accounts to sell tickets.

Bearing all that in mind, you'd think Swift would speak up about the most recent fiasco over her tour.

And for a while, she didn't, driving fans frantic over her silence — which she's finally broken.

On Friday, Swift spoke out in a carefully worded statement on her Instagram.

"Well, it goes without saying that I’m extremely protective of my fans," she began. "It’s really difficult for me to trust an outside entity with these relationships and loyalties, and excruciating for me to just watch mistakes happen with no recourse."

Swift is clearly alluding to Ticketmaster here, and euphemistically summed up the situation as there being "a multitude of reasons why people had such a hard time trying to get tickets" — though she never specifically names the corporation.

Diplomatic as the words may be, they've dropped at the perfect moment, because The New York Times reports that the DOJ has opened an antitrust investigation over LiveNation's ownership of Ticketmaster (though at press time, official confirmation is still pending.)

Could this be the beginning of the end of the company's unfettered dominance? Maybe. Ticketmaster and LiveNation only seem to get stronger with the more bad PR they get. So taking them down? It'll take more than online outrage. However, with Swift looking poised to join the fight alongside the DOJ, maybe this time around the concert conglomerate will get a run for its money.

More on Taylor Swift: Taylor Swift Reportedly Threatened Microsoft Over Racist Chatbot

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Startup Says It’s Building a Giant CO2 Battery in the United States

Italian startup Energy Dome has designed an ingenious battery that uses CO2 to store energy, and it only needs non-exotic materials like steel and water.

Italian Import

Carbon dioxide has a bad rep for its role in driving climate change, but in an unexpected twist, it could also play a key role in storing renewable energy.

The world's first CO2 battery, built by Italian startup Energy Dome, promises to store renewables on an industrial scale, which could help green energy rival fossil fuels in terms of cost and practicality.

After successfully testing the battery at a small scale plant in Sardinia, the company is now bringing its technology to the United States.

"The US market is a primary market for Energy Dome and we are working to become a market leader in the US," an Energy Dome spokesperson told Electrek. "The huge demand of [long duration energy storage] and incentive mechanisms like the Inflation Reduction Act will be key drivers for the industry in the short term."

Storage Solution

As renewables like wind and solar grow, one of the biggest infrastructural obstacles is the storage of the power they produce. Since wind and solar sources aren't always going to be available, engineers need a way to save excess power for days when it's less sunny and windy out, or when there's simply more demand.

One obvious solution is to use conventional battery technology like lithium batteries, to store the energy. The problem is that building giant batteries from rare earth minerals — which can be prone to degradation over time — is expensive, not to mention wasteful.

Energy Dome's CO2 batteries, on the other hand, use mostly "readily available materials" like steel, water, and of course CO2.

In Charge

As its name suggests, the battery works by taking CO2, stored in a giant dome, and compressing it into a liquid by using the excess energy generated from a renewable source. That process generates heat, which is stored alongside the now liquefied CO2, "charging" the battery.

To discharge power, the stored heat is used to vaporize the liquid CO2 back into a gas, powering a turbine that feeds back into the power grid. Crucially, the whole process is self-contained, so no CO2 leaks back into the atmosphere.

The battery could be a game-changer for renewables. As of now, Energy Dome plans to build batteries that can store up to 200 MWh of energy. But we'll have to see how it performs as it gains traction.

More on batteries: Scientists Propose Turning Skyscrapers Into Massive Gravity Batteries

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Startup Says It's Building a Giant CO2 Battery in the United States

FDA Gives First Go Ahead for Lab Grown Meat Product

The FDA has approved a lab grown meat product from Upside Foods for human consumption, which now only needs USDA approval before being sold to customers.

Meat and Greet

Behold, ethical omnivores: the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given a key go-ahead to what could be the first lab grown meat product bound for human consumption in the US.

The decision, a first for cultivated meat in the US, paves the way for Californian startup Upside Foods to start selling its lab-grown chicken product domestically — meaning that now, it only needs approval from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) before the ersatz chicken can hit restaurant menus.

"The world is experiencing a food revolution and the [FDA] is committed to supporting innovation in the food supply," FDA officials said in a statement. "The agency evaluated the information submitted by Upside Foods as part of a pre-market consultation for their food made from cultured chicken cells and has no further questions at this time about the firm’s safety conclusion."

Upside Foods' products were evaluated via a process in which manufacturers divulge the production process to the agency for review, along with a sample. If everything looks good after inspection, the FDA then sends back a "no further questions" letter to the company.

"We are thrilled at FDA's announcement," said Upside director of communications David Kay in an email to Reuters. "This historic step paves the way for our path to market."

Going Protein

Lab meat like Upside's aren't a plant-based imitation, unlike popular vegan alternatives such as Beyond Burgers. Instead, they're made from real animal cells grown in bioreactors, sparing the lives of actual livestock.

But while at a cellular level the meat may be the same, customers will definitely notice a difference in price. For now, cultivating meat remains an extremely expensive process, so pending USDA approval notwithstanding, it could still be a while before you see it hit the shelves of your local grocer.

To let eager, early customers try out the lab meat, Upside, which already announced its collaboration with Michelin star chef Dominique Crenn last year, will be debuting its chicken at specific upscale restaurants.

"We would want to bring this to people through chefs in the initial stage," CEO Uma Valeti told Wired. "Getting chefs excited about this is a really big deal for us. We want to work with the best partners who know how to cook well, and also give us feedback on what we could do better."

While the FDA's thumbs-up only applies to a specific product of Upside's, it's still a historic decision, signalling a way forward for an industry that's rapidly accruing investment.

Updated to clarify details regarding the FDA's evaluation of the product.

More on lab grown meat: Scientists Cook Comically Tiny Lab-Grown Hamburger

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Celebrities’ Bored Apes Are Hilariously Worthless Now

The value of Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs has absolutely plummeted, leaving celebrities with six figure losses, a perhaps predictable conclusion.

Floored Apes

The value of Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs have absolutely plummeted, leaving celebrities with six figure losses, in a perhaps predictable conclusion to a bewildering trend.

Earlier this year, for instance, pop star Justin Bieber bought an Ape for a whopping $1.3 million. Now that the NFT economy has essentially collapsed in on itself, as Decrypt points out, it's worth a measly $69,000.

Demand Media

NFTs, which represent exclusive ownership rights to digital assets — but usually, underwhelmingly, just JPGs and GIFs — have absolutely plummeted in value, spurred by the ongoing crypto crisis and a vanishing appetite.

Sales volume of the blockchain knickknacks has also bottomed out. NFT sales declined for six straight months this year, according to CryptoSlam.

According to NFT Price Floor, the value of the cheapest available Bored Ape dipped down to just 48 ETH, well below $60,000, this week. In November so far, the floor price fell 33 percent.

Meanwhile, the crypto crash is only accelerating the trend, with the collapse of major cryptocurrency exchange FTX leaving its own mark on NFT markets.

Still Kicking

Despite the looming pessimism, plenty of Bored Apes are still being sold. In fact, according to Decrypt, around $6.5 million worth of Apes were moved on Tuesday alone, an increase of 135 percent day over day.

Is the end of the NFT nigh? Bored Apes are clearly worth a tiny fraction of what they once were, indicating a massive drop off in interest.

Yet many other much smaller NFT marketplaces are still able to generate plenty of hype, and millions of dollars in sales.

In other words, NFTs aren't likely to die out any time soon, but they are adapting to drastically changing market conditions — and leaving celebrities with deep losses in their questionable investments.

READ MORE: Justin Bieber Paid $1.3 Million for a Bored Ape NFT. It’s Now Worth $69K [Decrypt]

More on NFTs: The Latest Idea to Make People Actually Buy NFTs: Throw in a House

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Panicked Elon Musk Reportedly Begging Engineers Not to Leave

According to former Uber engineer Gergely Orosz,

Elon Musk's Twitter operations are still in free fall.

Earlier this week, the billionaire CEO sent an email to staff telling them that they "need to be extremely hardcore" and work long hours at the office, or quit and get three months severance, as The Washington Post reports.

Employees had until 5 pm on Thursday to click "yes" and be part of Twitter moving forward or take the money and part ways. The problem for Musk? According to former Uber engineer Gergely Orosz, who has had a close ear to Twitter's recent inner turmoil, "far fewer than expected [developers] hit 'yes.'"

So many employees called Musk's bluff, Orosz says, that Musk is now "having meetings with top engineers to convince them to stay," in an  embarrassing reversal of his public-facing bravado earlier this week.

Twitter has already been rocked by mass layoffs, cutting the workforce roughly in half. Instead of notifying them, employees had access to their email and work computers revoked without notice.

Even that process was bungled, too, with some employees immediately being asked to return to the company after Musk's crew realized it had sacked people it needed.

According to Orosz's estimations, Twitter's engineering workforce may have been cut by a whopping 90 percent in just three weeks.

Musk has been banging the war drums in an active attempt to weed out those who aren't willing to abide by his strict rules and those who were willing to stand up to him.

But developers aren't exactly embracing that kind of tyranny.

"Sounds like playing hardball does not work," Orosz said. "Of course it doesn't."

"From my larger group of 50 people, 10 are staying, 40 are taking the severance," one source reportedly told Orosz. "Elon set up meetings with a few who plan to quit."

In short, developers are running for the hills — and besides, they're likely to find far better work conditions pretty much anywhere else.

"I am not sure Elon realizes that, unlike rocket scientists, who have relatively few options to work at, [developers] with the experience of building Twitter only have better options than the conditions he outlines," Orosz argued.

Then there's the fact that Musk has publicly lashed out at engineers, mocking them and implying that they were leading him on.

Those who spoke out against him were summarily fired.

That kind of hostility in leadership — Musk has shown an astonishing lack of respect — clearly isn't sitting well with many developers, who have taken up his to get three months of severance and leave.

"I meant it when I called Elon's latest ultimatum the first truly positive thing about this Twitter saga," Orosz wrote. "Because finally, everyone who had enough of the BS and is not on a visa could finally quit."

More on Twitter: Sad Elon Musk Says He's Overwhelmed In Strange Interview After the Power Went Out

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NASA Orders Press Not to Photograph Launch Site After Moon Mission Takes Off

NASA apparently barred the press from photographing the Artemis moon rocket launch when it lifted its Orion capsule off to space earlier this week. 

No Photos, Please

NASA barred the press from photographing the launch site of its Space Launch System after it boosted the agency's Artemis I Moon mission into space earlier this week.

Multiple space reporters said on Twitter that the agency had sent them a message telling them they were prohibited from photographing the Artemis 1 launch tower after the liftoff.

"NASA did not provide a reason," Eric Berger, Ars Technica's senior space editor, tweeted. The reporter added that according to his sources, the ban was apparently an attempt to save face after the launch damaged the tower.

"So now sources are saying that yes, Launch Complex-39B tower was damaged during the Artemis I launch on Wednesday morning," Berger tweeted. "Basically, there were leaks and damage where there weren't supposed to be leaks and damage."

Damaging Reports

Later, Washington Post space reporter Christian Davenport posted a statement from NASA that seemed to corroborate Berger's sources, though he emphasized that there was "no word on damage" to the launch pad.

"Because of the current state of the configuration, there are [International Traffic in Arms Regulations license] restrictions and photos are not permitted at this time," the statement given to Davenport read. "There also is a launch debris around the pad as anticipated, and the team is currently assessing."

Whatever NASA's reasoning, it's pretty clear that the agency doesn't want unapproved photos of its expensive and overdue Space Launch System rocket going out to the public. NASA loves positive publicity, it seems — but not negative.

More on the Artemis 1 launch: NASA Says It's Fine That Some Pieces May Have Fallen Off Its Moon Rocket During Launch

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NASA Orders Press Not to Photograph Launch Site After Moon Mission Takes Off

Twitter Claims Video of Moon Rocket Launch Is Revenge Porn

A spaceflight photographer took to Twitter to post a mesmerizing video of the Artemis I launch, only to find himself the victim of an AI error.

Nice Rocket

Revenge porn is a horrible thing, and Twitter should definitely continue to ban anyone who attempts to post it on the app. That being said, a video of a rocket taking off — an actual rocket, you pervs — does not revenge porn make, and shouldn't be flagged as such.

It seems like a silly thing to have to say, but such is the exact situation that spaceflight photographer John Kraus found himself in earlier this week. Kraus, who was on site to photograph the historic Artemis I launch, took to Twitter to post a mesmerizing video of the liftoff — only to find himself kicked off of the app shortly thereafter, due to the fact that his post, for whatever inexplicable reason, had been marked as revenge porn.

"I’d like to acknowledge that our good friend and rocket photography extraordinaire, [John Kraus], has been completely locked out of twitter since yesterday, for an arbitrary and silly reason, the day of the biggest launch of his career," read an angry tweet from the Tim "Everyday Astronaut" Dodd. "Worst possible timing."

I’d like to acknowledge that our good friend and rocket photography extraordinaire @johnkrausphotos has been completely locked out of twitter since yesterday, for an arbitrary and silly reason, the day of the biggest launch of his career. Worst possible timing ????

— Everyday Astronaut (@Erdayastronaut) November 17, 2022

Let Freedom Ring

Twitter finally let Kraus back online today. But for a rocket photographer, getting kicked off of Twitter on the day of the Artemis I launch really is a nightmare scenario.

"Almost two days later, I'm back. Twitter just acknowledged that they falsely locked my account instantly after I posted a benign video/caption of the Artemis I launch," he tweeted upon his return. "This was an unfortunate error after one of the biggest launches of my career."

While there was some speculation that new Twitter owner Elon Musk — who fired waves of employees, then effectively forced a mass exodus of quitters, and has reportedly been begging employees to come back so the ship that is Twitter doesn't fully sink beneath the digital waves — was to blame for Kraus' unfortunately-timed ban, given the chaos that's ensued on the tech side since Musk's takeover. Kraus, however, denied that Musk had anything to do with it.

"Anyone speculating it had to do with [Elon Musk] / new Twitter policy / not wanting NASA content instead of SpaceX, or that it was an ITAR violation — you are WRONG," he clarified. "It was falsely auto-flagged by software/AI."

So, maybe not Musk's fault, but a screwup that now falls directly on his presumably still-full plate. Anyway. We're glad that Kraus is free. And, for the record, here's the video that led to the whole debacle:

For reference, this was the original, exact tweet that got my account falsely locked for almost two days. It is now visible. Enjoy!

— John Kraus (@johnkrausphotos) November 18, 2022

More on Artemis I: Experts Baffled by Why Nasa's "Red Crew" Wear Blue Shirts

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Twitter Claims Video of Moon Rocket Launch Is Revenge Porn

Experts Baffled by Why NASA’s “Red Crew” Wear Blue Shirts

Red Crew, Blue Crew

Had it not been for the heroics of three members of NASA's specialized "Red Crew," NASA's absolutely massive — and incredibly expensive — Space Launch System (SLS) likely wouldn't have made it off the ground this week.

During the launch, the painfully delayed Mega Moon Rocket sprang a hydrogen leak. The Red Crew ventured into the dangerous, half-loaded launch zone to fix it live. Incredible work indeed, although in spite of their heroics, keen-eyed observers did notice something strange about the so-called Red Crew: they, uh, don't wear red?

"How is it we spent $20B+ on this rocket," tweeted Chris Combs, a professor at the University of Texas San Antonio, "but we couldn't manage to get some RED SHIRTS for the Red Team."

Alas, the rumor is true. Red shirts seemed to be out of the budget this year — perhaps due to the ungodly amount of money spent on the rocket that these guys could have died while fixing — with the Red Crew-mates donning dark blue shirts instead. Per the NYT, they also drove white cars, which feels like an additional miss.

A leftover from last night that’s still bothering me:

how is it we spent $20B+ on this rocket but we couldn’t manage to get some RED SHIRTS for the Red Team

— Chris Combs (@DrChrisCombs) November 16, 2022

Packing Nuts

For their part, the Red Crew didn't seem to care all that much, at least not in the moment. They were very much focused on needing to "torque" the "packing nuts," as they reportedly said during a post-launch interview on NASA TV. In other words, they were busy with your casual rocket science. And adrenaline, because, uh, risk of death.

"All I can say is we were very excited," Red Crew member Trent Annis told NASA TV, according to the NYT. "I was ready to get up there and go."

"We were very focused on what was happening up there," he added. "It's creaking, it's making venting noises, it's pretty scary."

In any case, shoutout to the Red Crew. The Artemis I liftoff is historic, and wouldn't have happened if they hadn't risked it all. They deserve a bonus, and at the very least? Some fresh new shirts.

READ MORE: When NASA'S moon rocket sprang a fuel leak, the launch team called in the 'red crew.' [The New York Times]

More on the Artemis I launch: Giant Nasa Rocket Blasts off Toward the Moon

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Former Facebook Exec Says Zuckerberg Has Surrounded Himself With Sycophants

Conviction is easy if you're surrounded by a bunch of yes men — which Mark Zuckerberg just might be. And $15 billion down the line, that may not bode well.

In just about a year, Facebook-turned-Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg's metaverse vision has cost his company upwards of $15 billion, cratering value and — at least in part — triggering mass company layoffs. That's a high price tag, especially when the Facebook creator has shockingly little to show for it, both in actual technology and public interest.

Indeed, it seems that every time Zuckerberg excitedly explains what his currently-legless metaverse will one day hold, he's met with crickets — and a fair share of ridicule — at the town square. Most everyone finds themselves looking around and asking themselves the same question: who could this possibly be for, other than Zucko himself?

That question, however, doesn't really seem to matter to the swashzuckling CEO, who's either convinced that the public wants and needs his metaverse just as much as he does, or is simply just convicted to the belief that one day people will finally get it. After all, he's bet his company on this thing and needs the public to engage to stay financially viable long-term.

And sure, points for conviction. But conviction is easy if you're surrounded by a bunch of yes men — which, according to Vanity Fair, the founder unfortunately is. And with $15 billion down the line, that may not bode well for the Silicon Valley giant.

"The problem now is that Mark has surrounded himself with sycophants, and for some reason he's fallen for their vision of the future, which no one else is interested in," one former Facebook exec told Vanity Fair. "In a previous era, someone would have been able to reason with Mark about the company's direction, but that is no longer the case."

Given that previous reports have revealed that some Meta employees have taken to marking metaverse documents with the label "MMA" — "Make Mark Happy" — the revelation that he's limited his close circle to people who only agree with him isn't all that shocking. He wants the metaverse, he wants it bad, and he's put a mind-boggling amount of social and financial capital into his AR-driven dream.

While the majority of his many thousands of employees might disagree with him — Vanity Fair reports that current and former metamates have written things like "the metaverse will be our slow death" and "Mark Zuckerberg will single-handedly kill a company with the metaverse" on the Silicon Valley-loved Blind app — it's not exactly easy, or even that possible, to wrestle with the fact that you may have made a dire miscalculation this financially far down the road.

And if you just keep a close circle of people who just agree with you, you may not really have to confront that potential for failure. At least not for a while.

The truth is that Zuckerberg successfully created a thing that has impacted nearly every single person on this Earth. Few people can say that. And while it can be argued that the thing he built has, at its best, created some real avenues for connection, that same creation also seems to have led to his own isolation, in life and at work.

How ironic it is that he's marketed his metaverse on that same promise of connection, only to become more disconnected than ever.

READ MORE: "Mark Has Surrounded Himself with Sycophants": Zuckerberg's Big Bet on the Metaverse Is Backfiring [Vanity Fair]

More on the Meta value: Stock Analyst Cries on Tv Because He Recommended Facebook Stock

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"Elon" Plummets in Popularity as a Baby Name for Some Reason

According to BabyCenter's

Big Baby

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk's name has clearly lost its luster among the parents of newborns.

According to BabyCenter's review of the data the name "Elon" has cratered in popularity over the last year, dropping from 120 babies per million in 2021 to just 90 babies per million, falling in the popularity rankings by 466 spots.

The name had seen a meteoric rise over the last seven or so years, but is currently falling out of favor big time, plummeting back down to 2019 levels.

The read? It seems like Musk's public reputation has been taking a significant hit.

Name Game

There are countless reasons why Musk could be less popular public figure than he was three years ago.

Especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Musk emerged as a controversial figure, speaking out against vaccinations and lockdowns. He has also become synonymous with an unhealthy work culture, firing practically anybody standing in his way and forcing his employees to work long hours.

The fiasco surrounding Musk's chaotic takeover of Twitter has likely only further besmirched his public image.

For reference, other baby names that have fallen out of fashion include "Kanye" — almost certainly in response to the travails of rapper Kanye West, who's had a years-long relationship with Musk — which fell a whopping 3,410 spots over the last year.

More on Elon Musk: Sad Elon Musk Says He's Overwhelmed In Strange Interview After the Power Went Out

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Amazing Map Lets You Scroll Through the Entire Known Universe

Astronomers at Johns Hopkins University have made one of the most comprehensive maps of the Universe yet, using data previously unreleased to the public.


The universe is so vast and old that we can't possibly fathom it all. But we can make some pretty admirable efforts.

Take this stunning new map, put together by astronomers at Johns Hopkins University, that displays the entire known universe in all its glory, showcasing some 200,000 galaxies as tiny dots that span all the way to the cosmos' observable limits.

Using data gathered over 20 years by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, it shows the real positions and colors of the galaxies in a densely packed celestial slice which lets users easily scroll through billions of years.

You've probably seen other maps of the universe before, but likely none this impressive. Excitingly, it uses data previously unreleased to the public, and it might be the most comprehensive cosmic map made for the average Joe yet.

"Astrophysicists around the world have been analyzing this data for years, leading to thousands of scientific papers and discoveries." said the map's creator and John Hopkins professor Brice Ménard, in a press release.

"But nobody took the time to create a map that is beautiful, scientifically accurate, and accessible to people who are not scientists," he continued. "Our goal here is to show everybody what the universe really looks like."

Cosmic Cartography

The map's narrowest point originates from our home, the Milky Way, surrounded by light blue dots of spiral galaxies up to two billion light years away from Earth. Further away, yellow briefly takes over, where elliptical galaxies outshine the dimmer spiral ones.

Then the map takes us into a vibrant gradient of red. These are also elliptical galaxies, but thanks to the phenomenon aptly known as redshifting, their yellow light gets stretched into red.

Lurking behind is a tremendous ocean of blue, where the dots represent quasars, the luminous supermassive black holes at the center of distant galaxies.

Even a few errant red dots, depicting redshifted quasars, are speckled across the universe's penultimate boundary that's shrouded in hydrogen gas.

Finally, the map terminates at 13.7 billion light years away, or years ago, where all that can be discerned is the cosmic microwave background.

More on the universe: NASA Releases Hubble Images of Star Right as It Explodes

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So Many People Are Using a Diabetes Drug for Weight Loss That Actual Diabetics Are Having Trouble Getting It

Ozempic, the viral TikTok weight loss drug, is so popular that its creator has declared a shortage — wreaking havoc on the lives of actual diabetics.

At this point, it's likely that Ozempic has somehow come into your personal zeitgeist. The expensive, name-brand version of semaglutide — which, importantly, was originally developed to manage type 2 diabetes — has been in high demand after going viral on TikTok, where it's picking up a reputation as an effective weight loss aid.

"It's the most common medication that I get asked about," Dr. Sudeep Singh, a medical director at a concierge medical practice in Miami, told The Cut. "Everybody knows. Everyone's asking about it. My mom's asking. My neighbors are asking about it. The news is out."

Per a number of reports, Ozempic has been a celeb-guarded secret for some time now, oft-used by starlets who might feel the need to fit into a certain dress for a red carpet. Now the drug is becoming so popular that Novo Nordisk, its creator, has declared a shortage. Tragically, this is all starting to wreak havoc on the lives of actual diabetics, who don't just need the drug to lose a few pounds. They need it to live, and doctors are saying that they're starting to see panic from diabetic patients.

"We're getting calls from our patients who can't find it," Dr. Jonathan Fialkow, chief of cardiology at Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute, told the Sun Sentinel. Per the paper, Fialkow works with a number of diabetic patients with heart conditions.

"People need it for medical conditions, and pharmacies are out of it," he continued. "The manufacturers aren't able to keep up."

Ozempic, which first went to market in 2017, is what's called a "GLP-1 receptor agonist," which means that it stimulates insulin production and inhibits excess glucose from entering the bloodstream. In other words, it manages blood sugar. And while it's certainly a necessary medication for a lot of type 2 diabetics, there are a lot of very not fun side effects including diarrhea, vomiting and nausea.

But shedding a few pounds is one of those side effects too, and for a lot of consumers out there, it seems that the lure of drug-assisted pound-shedding is enough to outweigh the diarrhea and vomiting of it all — not to mention the reality that the drug, and now others like it, is in short supply for those with the illnesses that Ozempic actually intended to treat. (Last year, Novo Nordisk also started selling a version of semaglutide known as WeGovy that's specifically intended for weight loss, but that one is experiencing shortages as well.)

"Ozempic is not a weight-loss medication," Fialkow continued, adding that "these medications need to be monitored by your doctor."

To that note, while it's possible for weight loss hopefuls to buy Ozempic out-of-pocket, the long term effects still aren't known because nobody has been taking it for very long.

"These medications have been studied in certain populations of people with certain medical conditions," Fialkow additionally told Axios. "When we start using medications and other populations that haven't been studied, while they may be safe, we don't know."

Diet culture is insidious, and it creates immense pressure to slim down. But clearly, the price tag on Ozempic isn't just its extremely high literal price tag, or even the potential "puking your brains out" thing. If you're trying to get your hands on it for the sake of a few pounds gone, maybe, for the sake of those who need it to manage their chronic illness, consider putting it back on the shelf.

READ MORE: Florida diabetics scramble to find drugs suddenly popular for non-intended use: weight loss [Sun Sentinel]

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Experts Excoriate NASA Report Claiming James Webb Wasn’t Homophobic

A group of astronomers has clapped back at a NASA report claiming that it had found no evidence that the original James Webb was homophobic.

NASA says it can't find any record that James Webb, the State Department and NASA leader for whom the agency's groundbreaking new space telescope is named, was aware of homophobic government purges — but a bunch of astronomers are clapping back at the agency's claims.

"After an exhaustive search of U.S. government and Truman library archives," administrator Bill Nelson was quoted as saying in the agency's press release about its decision, "NASA’s historical investigation found, ‘To date, no available evidence directly links Webb to any actions or follow-up related to the firing of individuals for their sexual orientation.'"

In their own statement — which follows a 2021 Scientific American editorial and numerous other calls urging NASA to rename the telescope — astronomy experts Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, Lucianne Walkowicz, Sarah Tuttle and Brian Nord are calling shenanigans in the strictest terms.

"NASA’s press release utilizes a practice of selective historical reading," the open letter reads, pointing to the agency's insistence that the original Webb was unaware of the firing of Clifford Norton, a NASA budget analyst who was canned in 1963 after being arrested for making a "homosexual advance" on someone. At the time, Webb was head of NASA.

The argument — which makes sense, if you think about it — is basically that Webb was either aware of the institutionalized homophobia in a way that didn't survive in existing documentation, or unaware of a key dynamic at the workplace he was in charge of. Neither option is flattering.

"Because we do not know of a piece of paper that explicitly says, 'James Webb knew about this,' they assume it means he did not," the experts wrote. "In such a scenario, we have to assume he was relatively incompetent as a leader: the administrator of NASA should know if his chief of security is extrajudicially interrogating people."

"We are deeply concerned by the implication that managers are not responsible for homophobia or other forms of discrimination that happens on their watch," they continued, noting that such a stance is "explicitly anti-equity, diversity and inclusion" that puts "responsibility on the most marginalized people to fend for ourselves, and it is in conflict with legal norms in many US jurisdictions."

It's "deeply unscientific," the astronomy luminaries added, that "NASA is engaging in historical cherry picking" with a figure who was, along with the state-sanctioned homophobia that occurred on his watch, accused of engaging in Cold War-era "psychological warfare," in which, as The Atlantic noted in 2018, then-Undersecretary of State Webb assembled a team of hard and soft scientists to figure out the best ways to conduct anti-Soviet propaganda.

NASA and the scientific community at large should, the astronomers wrote in Scientific American, "name telescopes out of love for those who came before us and led the way to freedom."

More on Webb: NASA Drops Stunning New James Webb Image of a Star Being Born

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Behind the Lawsuit Against Celebs Who Shilled FTX Before Its Spectacular Meltdown

Lawyer Explains Why He's Suing Celebs Who Shilled FTX Before Its Spectacular Meltdown

Above all else, FTX advertisements wanted you to know two things: that cryptocurrency is a force for good, and that you don't need to be an expert to buy and trade it. In fact, you don't even have to understand it at all. You just need to get involved, because if you don't, you'll get left behind.

If a bit cheesy then, those same promotions — an array of of television commercials, social media posts, and print ads featuring an impressive lineup of A-list celebrities and athletes, in addition to appearances by the now-bankrupt exchange's ex-CEO Sam Bankman-Fried — are surreal, if not troubling, to watch now, roughly a week after the exchange's spectacular collapse.

Bankman-Fried, widely believed to be the cryptosphere's alleged savior, is under investigation by both the SEC and the CFTC, having lost virtually all his personal wealth in a single day. Meanwhile, an estimated $11 billion's worth of user funds — including that of the retail investors targeted by those shiny ads, many of whom have lost their savings — have vanished. But just six or so months ago? Unretired Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady was asking people if they were "in"; basketball star Steph Curry coolly told users that, like him, they didn't need to be a crypto "expert" to invest in digital assets; comedian Larry David told retail investors to ignore their crypto-skepticism; supermodel Gisele Bündchen, in a print campaign with Bankman-Fried, promised that she and FTX would save the world.

"The blood's on [Sam Bankman-Fried's] hands," Joseph Kaye, a Partner at the Moskowitz Law Firm in Florida, told Futurism. "And as far as we're concerned, it's on the hands of anybody who has been promoting this product."

Kaye's firm, alongside that of New York's David Boies, is representing thousands of dismayed FTX retail investors in a class action lawsuit filed this week against FTX, its founder, and its many celebrity sponsors, accusing those named of intentionally preying on low-information investors.

Of course, consuming a celebrity endorsement is like breathing air at this point. They're soaked into every corner of the culture, and most every public figure has their influencing hustle — makeup, clothes, shoes, cars, gummies and the like. And sure, a fair share of celebs have inspired rage over, say, Instagram posts touting diet suppressant lollipops.

FTX accounts, however, are a different story. You'd be hard-pressed to find someone who bought a celeb-endorsed lollipop and woke up to find thousands — if not millions — of their savings gone, and a balance sheet marking an eight billion dollar hole to show for it.

Like the now-also-defunct Voyager Digital's Earn Program, FTX accounts were yield-bearing, promising its investors high returns for their investments — so, basically, the markings of a security, just without the actual label. (The Moskowitz firm is also representing plaintiffs in a class action suit brought against Voyager and Mark Cuban, billionaire of "Shark Tank" fame.)

"A lot of people get confused and think that 'oh, well, investing in cryptocurrency is inherently risky,'" Kaye said. "But the issue here is not so much 'did they make an investment in cryptocurrency. It's the function of the account."

And while that's risky enough to begin with, it now appears that FTX — which hasn't officially been charged with anything yet — was using its investors' cash like a piggy bank, funding its own lending activities with the user money with which it'd been trusted.

"When you make statements like [those celebrities did] — and you don't disclose how much you're making or what your arrangement with them is — and it ends up being an unregistered security," Kaye continued, "you're liable as a promoter to the same extent as if you're the FTX exchange."

No one's saying that Brady or Bündchen or anyone else knew that FTX was potentially involved in any malpractice. They were likely taken in by Bankman-Fried's efforts to build a reputation for himself as Mr. Trustworthy Crypto Man, which he admitted shortly after the collapse had largely been a "front." It's also unlikely that they knew, or even really understood, that they were or could be hawking what might just shake out to be an unregistered security.

That's exactly the point, though. We believe, as they told us, that they weren't "experts." Not in the slightest. There doesn't appear to have been much — if any — due diligence here, and a lot of real people have been badly hurt because of it. Did Curry stand on a street corner and hand out FTX accounts? No, but it can be argued that he and the other figures named in the suit played a serious role in FTX's adoption by the masses, downplaying the instability and messiness of the blockchain world while promising that FTX had their back.

And considering how central they may have been to FTX's rise, it would be heartening to see them take some kind of responsibility after its fall.

"I remember our first meeting and we were speaking to the FTX guys… They started to explain it to us and I said, 'I don't know if you can tell over Zoom when our eyes glazed over, but I still don't understand it," David told The Hollywood Reporter back in February, shortly after his Super Bowl commercial aired. "But that's OK. I don't have to know everything.'"

More on the FTX fallout: Politicians Refuse to Say Whether They'll Give Back Donations From Sam Bankman-Fried

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Scientists Use Actual Lunar Soil Sample to Create Rocket Fuel

A team of Chinese researchers claim to have turned lunar regolith samples brought back by the country's Chang'e 5 mission into a source of fuel.

Fill 'Er Up

A team of Chinese researchers say they managed to convert actual lunar regolith samples into a source of rocket fuel and oxygen — a potential gamechanger for future space explorers hoping to make use of in-situ resources to fuel up for their return journey.

The researchers found that the lunar soil samples can act as a catalyst to convert carbon dioxide and water from astronauts' bodies and environment into methane and oxygen, as detailed in a paper published in the National Science Review.

"In situ resource utilization of lunar soil to achieve extraterrestrial fuel and oxygen production is vital for the human to carry out Moon exploitation missions," lead author Yujie Xiong said in a new statement about the work. "Considering that there are limited human resources at extraterrestrial sites, we proposed to employ the robotic system to perform the whole electrocatalytic CO2 conversion system setup."

That means we could have a much better shot at carrying out longer duration explorations of the lunar surface in the near future.

Set It, Forget It

According to the paper, which builds on previous research suggesting lunar soil can generate oxygen and fuel, this process can be completed using uncrewed systems, even in the absence of astronauts.

In an experiment, the team used samples from China's Chang'e-5 mission, which landed in Inner Mongolia back in December 2020 — the first lunar soil returned to Earth since 1976.

The Moon soil effectively acted as a catalyst, enabling the electrocatalytic conversion of carbon dioxide into methane and oxygen.

"No significant difference can be observed between the manned and unmanned systems, which further suggests the high possibility of imitating our proposed system in extraterrestrial sites and proves the feasibility of further optimizing catalyst recipes on the Moon," the researchers conclude in their paper.


But there's one big hurdle to still overcome: liquifying carbon dioxide is anything but easy given the Moon's frosty atmosphere, as condensing the gas requires a significant amount of heat, as New Scientist reported earlier this year.

Still, it's a tantalizing prospect: an autonomous machine chugging away, pumping out oxygen and fuel for future visitors. But for now, it's not much more than a proof of concept.

READ MORE: Scientists investigate using lunar soils to sustainably supply oxygen and fuels on the moon [Science China Press]

More on lunar soil: Bad News! The Plants Grown in Moon Soil Turned Out Wretched

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Scientists Use Actual Lunar Soil Sample to Create Rocket Fuel