🚀 How inspirational will Inspiration4 prove to be?

Plus: Scientist roleplay as Neanderthals!
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By Nick Lucchesi

By Nick Lucchesi

“The Super Bowl is a strange place for a story about space to start, but that’s where a lot of people first heard of Inspiration4 via a commercial released a few days after the mission’s formal announcement in 2021.”

That’s the opening line in a brilliant new story assembled by Inverse card story editor Bryan Lawver about the first civilian trip to space. Four regular — well, one’s a billionaire — people went to space on Wednesday night atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. They splashed down into the Atlantic ocean inside their triangular capsule on Saturday, off the coast of Florida.

Unlike NASA missions, the goal of this one was less data-driven and more focused on inspiring a new generation of people that they could, should they want to, go to space one day. 

The most considerable ripple effect of this mission, Inspiration4, might not be noticed for years, if not decades, as the exploits of its crew may not have yet reached the people who they will most inspire. While the mission has ended, quantifying its inspirational effects is far from over.

The journey is the basis of our new feature today. Here are twenty images that unpack this historic trip.

I’m Nick Lucchesi, and this is Inverse Daily. Please share this science & innovation newsletter with a friend by sending them this link.

History’s first all-civilian space mission<br>

Bryan Lawver assembles a gallery on SpaceX's Inspiration4 mission, making history the first all-civilian spaceflight mission. See the steps leading up to launch and the historic flight itself:

The Super Bowl is a strange place for a story about space to start, but that’s where many people first heard of Inspiration4via a commercial released a few days after the mission’s formal announcement in 2021.

Read the full story and see the images →

Go deeper:

Scientists role play as Neanderthals<br>

Sarah Wells talks to Spanish researchers who have recreated Neanderthal hunting techniques to understand better how they hunted prey at night and what impact it had on their diets:

It was the dead of night when a team of Spanish scientists snuck into a pitch-black cave along Spain’s Iberian peninsula

Adorned with headlamps, this team of researchers moved stealthily beneath a chattering of choughs — a jet black bird with flame-red legs and beak. In a burst of activity, the choughs were dazzled and confused by the sudden light, and the chase to “capture” and tag the raven-like birds began.

But while the chough’s nesting habits were of interest to the researchers, predators from their past — whose hunting style they were mimicking — interested the team most: the Neanderthals.

Read the full story →

Go deeper:

Male infertility increasing?<br>

Katie MacBride writes that while male infertility is common, research on what can cause fertility issues and treatments is lacking. Here's what men need to know about male infertility:

Research into infertility in males is sorely lacking. 

That’s disturbing, especially considering reports of rising rates of male infertility. In cisgender, heterosexual couples who experience problems conceiving, roughly one-third of the time, the problem stems from the man — and these issues are complicated. If you are male, understanding the nuances of your reproductive system matters regardless of whether you are becoming a parent or not.

Technically, male infertility is defined simply as the inability to fertilize a female egg. Still, a man who gets the diagnosis could be experiencing a range of problems, Jeff Foster, a physician specializing in men’s health, tells Inverse. Foster is also the author of Man Alive: The Health Problems of Men and How to Fix Them and spoke to Inverse about this exceedingly common diagnosis.

Read the full story →

Go deeper:

Congress quietly wants to create a UFO office<br>

Jon Kelvey looks at two bills in Congress could expand the UAP task force or set up a permanent office to study sitings of these unknown objects:

Congress may take steps to ramp up investigations of UFOs — UAPs, in the new terminology — following a Department of Defense report to Congress over the summer recognizing the reality of these “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena,” but found no evidence of extraterrestrial involvement.

Sections of two proposed intelligence appropriation bills, H.R. 4350 (the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act in the House of Representatives) and S.2610 (the FY 22 Intelligence Authorization Act in the Senate), take different approaches to expand the work of the Pentagon’s UAP Task Force.

Those hoping for a full-throated Congressional hunt for technologically advanced aliens of UFO lore may be disappointed, however. The bills appear driven more by entirely Earthly national security and safety concerns than little green men in hypersonic lozenge-shaped vessels.

Read the full story →

The truth is out there:

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