Tesla raises prices... SpaceX upgrades Starlink... Elon Musk hates LiDAR. It’s the free edition of Musk Reads #280 — subscribe now to receive two more emails later this week.
Last week, Musk Reads+ members heard from SpaceX Reddit moderator Forest Katsch about how the online community fuels SpaceX. This week, members will hear from Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck about how its unusually-shaped rocket enables new missions.
A version of this article appeared in the “Musk Reads” newsletter. Sign up for free here.
Musk quote of the week: “Earth should be called Water” — Elon Musk tweeted on January 4. Now there’s an idea, Musk.
SpaceX: Starlink, with lasers
SpaceX conducted its first Starlink launch of 2022 from Kennedy Space Center on January 6. The successful mission added 49 next-generation Starlink satellites to SpaceX’s growing second shell.
These lasers, of course, are not the neon green interplanetary defense mechanisms you might imagine, but links that lead to improved communication between Starlink satellites. Read more on Inverse.
Although Starlink missions are certainly exciting for the spaceflight enthusiasts among us, if you’re a disgruntled Starlink customer still waiting for your product, you might not be so impressed. After all, more Starlink satellites don’t necessarily lead to more Starlink kits. Silicon and chip shortages have led to indefinite production delays, but Starlink continues to offer customers a full refund for their subscriptions at any time.
Tesla: With great power comes a great price hike
Tesla is raising its Full Self-Driving price for the first time since 2020. Starting on January 17, you can purchase the software for a sizable $12,000, but “just in the U.S.,” Elon Musk said on Twitter.
For anyone just looking to test FSD out, the software is still available at a much more affordable (in comparison) subscription price of $199 a month, or $99 a month if your vehicle has Enhanced Autopilot installed. However, these subscription prices are likely to get bumped, too, as Tesla improves its software.
And what are the recent improvements Tesla has made to its soon-to-be $12,000 software? According to the release notes on the latest version of FSD, Beta 10.8, it now yields better to jaywalkers, improved unprotected left turns, and has more “natural behaviors to bias over bike lanes during right turns,” among other things.
We wanted to give a heartfelt thank you to all of our readers! Let’s welcome some of our newest Musk Reads+ members:
Bacchanalia, Richard A., Aps, Wilner T., Thomas B., Robbz, Shada R., Count Skelton, Christie, Ral, Alise, Ivana, Goulad, Ronnie C., Baxter T., Mike L., Mariq, Kwame S., Freerella, Maurice c., Welsh Lamb, Adam R., R. Patrick, M. Pollard, R. Lindy, Mick P., Kenneth R., Joey C., Lollie’s, D. Saam, Wayne G., Dan M., John, Debra, Jeremaih P., Mark T., R. Herben
And don’t forget, Musk Reads+ members receive instant access to our ever-expanding archive, premium issues, and much more. Upgrade your membership today!
More stories from Musk’s world
T-minus the internet
A ranked list of everything Musk-related and online, handpicked weekly with bionic precision.
10. Elon Musk has long opposed LiDar, or light detection and ranging. More recently, Musk has transitioned Tesla vehicles over to “Tesla Vision,” a camera-based detection system, to rely on for their Autopilot and Full Self-Driving technology. Now, Teslas are running over fake children in parking lots. Think of the fake children.
9. When you’re not running down fake children in parking lots, you can use your Tesla to mine cryptocurrency. It’s possible, but not necessarily profitable.
8. You can even use your Tesla to mine the Musk-universe’s latest cryptocurrency, um… “Elon Goat Token,” which is being commemorated by its founders with a 30-foot statue of Elon Musk as a goat riding a rocket. Yes, that’s right. Elon Musk, as a goat, riding a rocket. The whole thing (and the incredibly detailed project plan) is probably a big joke. But I don’t want it to be.
7. Need even more cars that will help you make pancakes out of cardboard children? Check out Inverse reporter Jordan Golson’s car review newsletter, PRNDL, for ideas. So many fake children, so little time.
5. Space transportation company Sierra Space recently showcased its nubby space plane, Dream Chaser, at the CES technology convention in Las Vegas. The company already has a crewed mission planned with NASA.
4. Although funding for the International Space Station was set to expire in 2024, the Biden administration plans to extend the deadline to 2030. “It’s more important than ever that the United States continues to lead the world in [...] the peaceful and responsible use of space,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
3. By the way, retiring NASA scientist, Jim Green, says we can terraform Mars. And Venus!
2. That’s good news. 2021 was one of humanity’s hottest years ever. Prepare the escape pod.
1. And a piece of Musk history: In 2015, Musk suggested to Fortune that Tesla vehicles could drive themselves by 2017. “I think we have all the pieces, and it’s just about refining those pieces, putting them in place, and making sure they work across a huge number of environments—and then we’re done,” he said. Five years later, Tesla still isn’t quite there yet. But maybe in two more years.
The ultra-fine print — This has been Musk Reads #280, the weekly rundown of essential reading about futurist and entrepreneur Elon Musk. I’m Ashley Bardhan, newsletter writer at Inverse.
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 with an interest 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.
- Email Ashley directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter at @ashleybardhan.
- Follow Inverse on Twitter at @inversedotcom.
- Have thoughts on today’s newsletter? Send us your questions and feedback at email@example.com.
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 worthy of a story, 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.
If you want to support us in our mission, and receive exclusive interviews and analysis, consider contributing with a subscription.