๐Ÿš€ Watch four "amateur astronauts" and a floating stuffed dog go to space

The crew of Inspiration4 is now orbiting 360 miles above Earth.
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By Nick Lucchesi

By Nick Lucchesi

The first all-civilianย mission to space, dubbedย Inspiration4, blasted off from Launchpad 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 8:02 p.m. on Wednesday. Below, we have details from the historic launch and a link to the full video if you missed it.

Iโ€™mย Nick Lucchesi, and this isย Inverse Daily.ย Please share this science & innovation newsletter with a friend byย sending them this link.

Inspiring stuff<br>

This crew โ€”ย Jared Isaacman, Dr. Sian Proctor,ย Hayley Arceneaux, and Chris Sembroski โ€” is now orbiting Earth some 360 miles above it, which is higher than theย International Space Station. Think of it as the distance from Los Angeles to the Golden Gate Bridge. ย 

These four are relatively normal, private citizensโ€”no tax dollars funded this trip. Theย Washington Postย described them as โ€œamateur astronautsโ€ inย its breaking news headlineย on Wednesday night. Itโ€™s apt ... if a maybe a little blunt.

The private mission, launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket (the crew is inside the Crew Dragon capsule), is a fundraiser for St. Jude Childrenโ€™s Hospital in the near term. In the future, it may very well be seen as the start of humans going to space for reasons other than those of a governmental or scientific nature. Vacations. Fundraisers. Commercials. Art. Weddings. Births? Donโ€™t rule it out.

โ€œThe door is open now. The view is pretty incredible,โ€ said Isaacman,ย a billionaireย who founded a retail payment processing company, Shift4 Payments, in 1999.ย 

In the cabin of the Crew Dragon was also a stuffed toy dog, floating as the fifth member of the team. A feature of this mission is aย skylight of sortsย in the Crew Dragon capsule, which SpaceX revealed in March. While there was supposed to be a view of the feature on the launch live stream, that didnโ€™t go as planned, so weโ€™ll have to wait a little longer to see that.

The splashdown of the Crew Dragon capsule with its four members and their stuffed dog is set for Saturday in the Atlantic Ocean.

Read more about the mission in ourย breaking story from Wednesday night โ†’

Go deeper:

Covid-19 vaccine and infertility<br>

Emma Betuelย reports that despite misinformation shared, there's no evidence that any of the Covid-19 vaccines available in the United States harm male fertility:

Met Gala tickets reportedly cost aboutย $35,000. But in 2021, even if you had the cash you couldnโ€™t get in without another ticket you can get for free:ย proofย you received the Covid-19 vaccine, known to prevent severe disease and death.

Thatย Covid-19ย vaccination requirement was enough to keep at least one person from attending the event: Nicki Minaj. Instead, Minaj shared her hesitations, and unfortunately, a bit of vaccine misinformation on Twitter.ย 

In particular, Minaj sharedย an anecdoteย about her cousinโ€™s friend, who Minaj claimed became impotent after receiving the vaccine, suffered from some swollen balls, and was then dumped by his fiancรฉ.

Read the full story โ†’

Go deeper:

How one animal survived the asteroid that killed dinosaurs<br>

Tara Yarlagaddaย speaks with scientists on how they discovered snakes survived and diversifiedย afterย the extinction event that killed off the majority of species on Earth, including dinosaurs:

Samuel L. Jackson bemoaned the slithering serpent in the movieย Snakes on a Plane.ย He โ€œhad itโ€ with these snakes on planes.ย 

What has not had it with snakes, however, is Earth. From terrifyingย flying snakesย to โ€˜hornyโ€™ sea snakes, these elongated reptiles are spread across the planet,ย maintaining ecosystems. Scientists estimate there are a whoppingย 3,921 speciesย of snakes.

But it was never a foregone conclusion that snakes would dominate Earth. In fact, if it werenโ€™t for the Cretaceous mass extinction โ€” ย yes, the same one thatย killed off most dinosaursย โ€” we might not have any snakes at all.

Read the full story โ†’

The more you know:

The young people with long Covid<br>

From the archives, weโ€™re re-sharing this story from nearly a year ago about young patients of Covid-19 who were dealing with long-term effects. As more โ€œbreakthroughโ€ cases occur, with some of them occurring in young people, we want to highlight this longform story byย Ali Pattillo:

Christina Alexander was having an unsettling experience.ย It was a Saturday night in mid-March, and the 26-year-old was cooking up a stir-fry in her small Chicago apartment. Steam from the teriyaki-soaked vegetables rose into the air. But as the dish sizzled on the stove, something wasn't right.

Alexander couldn't smell her dinner.ย 

In fact, she couldn't smell or taste anything. Then she realized: she hadย Covid-19. She had distorted sensory perception like an estimatedย 34 to 68 percentย of people infected with the virus.

Read the full story โ†’

Go deeper:

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"A Song of the Road" by Josรฉ Santos Chocano, translated byย John Pierrepont Rice

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