Musk Reads

SpaceX’s groundbreaking Inspiration4 hits Netflix (and soon, space)

Inspiration4 gears for launch; Tesla updates Autopilot; Defacto Technoking Musk prefers to stay out of politics.

The recovered first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket stands at Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (Space...

Inspiration4 gears for launch; Tesla updates Autopilot; Defacto Technoking Musk prefers to stay out of politics. It’s the free edition of Musk Reads #263subscribe now to receive two more emails later this week!

Last week, Musk Reads+ subscribers heard more about the Netflix show documenting Inspiration4’s journey into space. This week, subscribers will discover how Inspiration4 will go somewhere only Hubble astronauts have gone before.

A version of this article appeared in the “Musk Reads” newsletter. Sign up for free here.

Musk quote of the week

“Time is the ultimate currency.” — A chronically late Elon Musk tweeted September 3, later reminding users that, when it counts, he’s “not always late haha.”

SpaceX: Countdown to Inspiration4

We are entering crunch time for SpaceX’s trailblazing, all-civilian Inspiration4 flight, with a targeted 24-hour launch window starting September 14 after 8 p.m. Eastern.

A week is a long time for our society’s constant content mill, but if you’re hungry to stuff your brain with more Inspiration4, you’re in luck — the mission’s accompanying docuseries, Countdown: Inspiration4 Mission to Space, just premiered its first two episodes on Netflix. Inspiration4 crew member (and the subject of our latest Musk Reads+ interview) Sian Proctor seems to be pretty happy with it.

Dr. Sian Proctor shares a quote from Countdown.

While the Inspiration4 Crew Dragon is still parked on land, though, we can observe and enjoy the 360-degree cupola that has never been used on a SpaceX rocket before. Unveiled in March, the glass dome will help Inspiration4’s crew feel the “most ‘in space’” they could “possibly feel by being in a glass dome,” Musk tweeted after its announcement. To put it another way, it’s a slightly more majestic prairie dog window at the zoo.

The full Inspiration4 crew poses under the cupola.

The cupola isn’t SpaceX’s only (majestic) rocket edition, though. The company upgraded its orbital Starship with sparkling black heat tiles — tiny but integral parts of Elon Musk’s journey in getting the rest of us to space. Read more on Inverse.

Tesla: A safer robot overlord

While the world waits for Tesla Bot (assuming the humanoid helper isn’t just part of an elaborate prank), Elon “A.I. will destroy us all” Musk defends his creation on Twitter.

“The robots are coming anyway,” Musk responded to a fan wondering why he would warn us “about A.I. and then make a robot … I will not be able to ensure that robots made by other companies are safe, but I can try my best to do so at Tesla,” Musk said.

For those of you with similar concerns to Musk and the Twitter Tesla fan, it’s important to consider that Tesla Bot will feature much of the same A.I. technology that Tesla has been using (and continues to develop) in its vehicles.

As a general rule of thumb: just because a robot looks like a human doesn’t mean it absorbs or processes information like one. You probably won’t have to overpower your suddenly sentient Tesla Bot any time soon. You might, however, need to specify that you want peelable Cuties from the grocery store and not navel oranges.

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In other Musk-related news…

T-minus the internet

A ranked list of everything Musk-related and online, handpicked weekly with bionic precision.

10. NASA paid space startup Lunar Outpost $0.10 to gather moon dust. Don’t spend it all in one place.

9. Richard Branson isn’t going anywhere, thanks to a pending investigation following a ship malfunction on his last flight. Not even to almost-space.

8. A Tesla driver breached the Las Vegas Convention Center’s Boring Company tunnel. Don’t do that.

7. Tesla Bot, avert your eyes! When humans look into robot eyes, it does something funny to our brains. That's that song by Eric Carmen, right?

6. This robot doesn’t need to look at you. It just wants to harness water on Mars. Watch now.

5. Elon Musk’s current home state, Texas, has been having a tough time. Between a disastrous COVID-19 policy and a new law allowing residents to wage war on people seeking abortions, many Texans feel vulnerable, afraid, and stuck with a government that seems to want to actively hurt instead of help them. Not Musk, though. He prefers to stay out of politics. It’s not like he’s one of the world’s wealthiest people who could change millions of lives with his resources and connections or anything silly like that.

4. Blue Origin’s lawsuit against NASA has been delayed yet again. Read more.

3. Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen, spoke to CNN about his interest in creating more electric cars, the desire to move toward zero-emissions, and what makes Musk a “brilliant guy.” Read more.

2. Bloomberg has reported a new detail about the “driverless” Tesla crash that left a fire and two dead on April 17. Read more.

1. And a piece of Musk history: Elon “I prefer to stay out of politics” Musk wasn’t interested in weighing in on Texas’ current state of crisis. But what about his future Mars colony — will he engage in inevitable politics there? This Mother Jones article about SpaceX, published in 2012, doesn’t seem to think so. Read more.

The ultra-fine print

This has been Musk Reads #263, the weekly rundown of essential reading about futurist and entrepreneur Elon Musk. I’m Ashley Bardhan, assistant to Musk Reads.

Why subscribe to Musk Reads+? You’ll be supporting in-depth, high-quality journalism about the world’s most ambitious change-maker, Elon Musk. Tesla investors, SpaceX critics, and anyone interested in these matters will find something they love in our offerings. Independent journalism is essential now more than ever, and your contributions will help us continue in our mission to deliver interviews and analysis you won’t find anywhere else.

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Musk Reads+ is a fully independent operation. We are not Elon Musk, nor are we employed by him. Our job is to report the events we find newsworthy, giving you an inside look at the worlds of space rockets, electric cars, clean energy, and more. It means firsthand accounts of a SpaceX rocket launch, Tesla insights from third-party analysts, and more.

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