🌊 Update: Gaza Hospital Explosion

Gaza hospital explosion, Alec Baldwin’s not done yet, and the race to land on the moon

Yesterday, as you’ll read below, a hospital exploded in Gaza. Many outlets — including The New York Times and The Washington Post — immediately reported that Israel had bombed it. They’ve since made retractions because the situation remains unclear. In fact, new evidence suggests Israel may not have been responsible for the strike.

Add this to the list of massive corrections made in silence by the nation’s leading newspapers in the last week. Often at the expense of being first, it is our belief that news companies should provide you with only the facts so that you can draw your own conclusions. Furthermore, if we ever make a major change, we will tell you about it. But thankfully, we’ve had to use our backspace button a little less often than legacy news outlets this week. Thank you for reading Roca!

In today's edition:

  • Gaza hospital explosion

  • Alec Baldwin’s not done yet

  • The race to land on the moon

 🔑 Key Stories

Record Marsquake Detected

Scientists announced that a powerful Martian earthquake (“marsquake”) was caused by tectonic activity, not a meteor strike

  • In May 2022, a NASA spacecraft orbiting Mars detected a magnitude 4.7 marsquake – the strongest ever recorded. Scientists initially believed that quake was likely caused by a meteor strike

  • Despite months of searching, no signs of a meteor strike were ever discovered. Professor Benjamin Fernando, an Oxford scientist who co-authored a study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, told Roca that once they realized the quake wasn’t caused by a meteor, they knew tectonic activity must have been responsible

  • Although Mars “doesn’t have plate tectonics…the crust is not totally dead,” Fernando told Roca. “There are still…stresses built up in the crust, and also the planet is gradually shrinking and cooling,” which he said can lead to “rapid [crust] fracturing” that can cause marsquakes

Dig Deeper

  • Fernando told Roca that the quake means that Mars is still “very much still seismically active” despite not having tectonic activity. He added that by studying them, scientists can determine how to avoid them on future Martian missions: “If you were an astronaut on Mars you would want to know where these [quakes] are going to occur,” he said

Gaza Hospital Bombed

An explosion struck a hospital in Gaza on Tuesday, although it remains unclear who is responsible for it

  • Gaza’s Health Ministry claimed an Israeli airstrike struck the hospital and said 500+ people were killed, many of whom were children. Protests broke out in many Arab countries in response

  • Israel denied responsibility and said a rocket fired by Islamic Jihad – another Gaza group that opposes Israel – malfunctioned and hit the hospital. It also claimed the rocket hit a parking lot, not the hospital itself, and caused far fewer casualties than reported. It released an intercepted phone call and several videos supporting its claim

  • Some on social media pointed out that Hananya Naftali, an Israeli journalist and associate to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, tweeted and then deleted, “BREAKING: Israeli Air Force struck a terrorist base inside a hospital in Gaza.” Naftali later said, “Earlier today I shared a report that was published on @reuters about the bombing at the hospital in Gaza which falsely stated Israel struck the hospital. I mistakenly shared this information in a since deleted post…” Some mistook Naftali for former Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett

  • On Wednesday, President Biden arrived in Israel and met with Netanyahu. During that meeting, Biden told Netanyahu US data suggest the strike was done by “the other team”

Dig Deeper

  • Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas – who controls the West Bank, a different Palestinian territory – condemned the attack and called for a three-day period of mourning. He also canceled a planned meeting with President Biden on Wednesday, apparently in protest

DJ D-Sol Calling It Quits

The CEO of Goldman Sachs will stop DJing at high-profile gigs, a company representative said

  • David Solomon has served as the CEO of Goldman Sachs since October 2018 and its chairman since January 2019. He also moonlights as “DJ D-Sol” and has performed at several major festivals, including Tomorrowland and Lollapalooza

  • Several Goldman board members have reportedly become displeased with Solomon’s hobby, especially as the company has struggled financially

  • On Tuesday, a company spokesperson confirmed Solomon will no longer perform at high-profile gigs

Dig Deeper

  • “David hasn’t publicly DJed an event in well over a year, which we have confirmed multiple times in the past,” a Goldman spokesperson told the Financial Times. “Music was not a distraction from David’s work. The media attention became a distraction”

Brussels Terrorist Attack

Belgian police killed a 45-year-old Tunisian national suspected of murdering two Swedish citizens in what authorities have described as a terrorist attack

  • In August, several Swedish protesters burned Qurans – Islam’s holiest book – causing an outcry among many Muslims. Sweden raised its terrorism threat levels as a result of those burnings

  • On Monday, a gunman fatally shot two Swedish men in Brussels, Belgium’s capital. Police killed the suspect – an illegal immigrant from Tunisia – on Tuesday

  • Authorities have described it as a terrorist attack. An unverified video of the alleged suspect shows him identifying himself as a member of ISIS and specifically targeting the men because they were Swedish

Dig Deeper

  • “Sweden has in modern times never been under as big a threat as now,” Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said in response to the attack. “Every indication is that this is a terror attack, targeting Sweden and Swedish citizens, just because they are Swedes,” he said

  • He also called on the EU to increase the bloc’s security cooperation

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Dig Deeper

🍿 Popcorn

ICYMI

  • Case (not) closed: NBC News reported that prosecutors intend to recharge actor Alec Baldwin with involuntary manslaughter over the 2021 “Rust” shooting

  • Britney bombshell: Britney Spears reveals in her upcoming memoir that she had an abortion during her relationship with Justin Timberlake, People Magazine reported

  • Formula winners: The Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, tight end Travis Kelce, four-time golf major champion Rory McIlroy, and other top athletes invested ~$211M in a Formula One team

Wildcard

  • Solar through the Sahara: The Stella Terra – allegedly the world’s first solar-powered car capable of long-distance off-road travel – completed a 620-mile test drive across the Sahara Desert

  • Unnecessary roughness: Los Angeles police say a man drove his vehicle into Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Terrell Owens after an argument over a pickup basketball game

  • A truly s****y flight: EasyJet canceled a Tenerife-to-London flight after a passenger defecated on the bathroom floor. The passengers had to deplane and spend the night there

👇 What do you think?

Today's Poll:

Is it appropriate for a CEO to moonlight as a DJ?

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Today's Question:

What is your favorite planet and why?

Reply to this email with your answers!

See yesterday's results below the Wrap! 

🌯 Roca Wrap

Intuitive Machines seeks to make history next month by becoming the first company to land a spacecraft on the Moon. Its CEO told Roca about how it got here.

In 1959, the Soviet Union became the first country to successfully launch a spacecraft that reached the Moon. Yet the spacecraft, Luna 2, didn’t land on the Moon: It crashed into it at 7,400 MPH. It took seven more years for the USSR to become the first country to successfully land a spacecraft on the Moon.

Three years later, the US landed the first humans on the Moon.

The Apollo Program, which oversaw that landing, would land twelve men on the Moon between 1969 and 1972. Yet the program came at a massive cost: $153B in inflation-adjusted expenses, all of which were taxpayer-funded. As the Space Race died down, politicians found it difficult to justify NASA’s budget.

For decades, interest in landing humans or spacecraft on the Moon faded.

In recent years, though, scientists have determined that a vast amount of ice likely exists near the Moon’s South Pole. Scientists have theorized that astronauts could use that water to support a permanent Moon colony, and in response to that and other factors, landing on the Moon has reemerged as a major geopolitical goal.

Numerous countries now intend to land spacecraft on the Moon this decade. Among them is the US, which in 2019 launched the Artemis Mission to return humans to the moon by 2025 and establish a colony there later this decade.

As interest in the Moon has surged, numerous commercial space companies have emerged as major players in the industry.

Several are now competing to become the first company to land a spacecraft on the Moon, and several have already attempted and failed. In 2019, an Israeli company failed in an attempt after its spacecraft crashed into the Moon’s surface; earlier this year, a Japanese one also crashed. Next month, Houston-based Intuitive Machines hopes to make history by becoming the first company to stick the landing.

Intuitive is a commercial space company founded in 2013 by a team of former NASA engineers. While its CEO, Steve Altemus, said the idea of a commercial company landing on the Moon “is not something new,” he said Intuitive’s approach to doing so is.

NASA’s Artemis mission funds Intuitive under a program that contracts companies to deliver payloads to the Moon’s surface. Intuitive’s first space launch – “IM-1” – includes its Nova-C spacecraft, which is designed to transport 130 kilograms (286 pounds) of gear to the Moon. Nova-C will be lifted into Earth’s orbit by a SpaceX rocket and will then journey over five days to the Moon, where – if all goes to plan – it will land and remain online for 10 days.

The most difficult part of that mission, Altemus told Roca, is sticking the landing.

A common issue with spacecraft is that their landing mechanisms can’t determine when the spacecraft has landed – i.e., they either fire their engines for too long or turn them off too soon. To address that, he and his team developed a precision landing and hazard detection system to notify the lander when it reaches the ground and ensure it doesn’t hit obstacles in the process.

Altemus has previously said that a successful Moon landing is the space equivalent of a touchdown. “That's a wild success,” he said. “100% A+.” Yet given the difficulty involved, Altemus told Roca that failure isn’t a crisis: “We've learned along the way, we'll pick ourselves up and go to the next.”

Competition over the Moon currently centers around the South Pole, which is believed to possess large quantities of ice that could support a future lunar colony.

In August, India became the first country to successfully land a spacecraft near the South Pole just days after a Russian spacecraft crashed while trying to do the same. Intuitive initially planned to land its first spacecraft near the Moon’s equator, but at NASA’s request, it has since changed its destination to the rim of a crater near the Moon’s South Pole.

Altemus told Roca that its mission is part of an international competition.

“There’s a strong geo-political interest in the Moon as the strategic high ground,” he said. “World powers are vying for who is going to set the norms and behaviors of working and living in space.”

Intuitive will have a window from November 16 to 21 to launch Nova-C.

Other launches have priority over it, though, meaning that if those launches are delayed, Nova-C may have to postpone the launch entirely. Intuitive is already planning follow-up missions regardless of the outcome of the first mission and has been awarded numerous contracts from NASA’s Artemis mission.

Altemus says Intuitive’s mission is the start of something much bigger: Creating the “blueprint to commercialize a celestial body,” he said.

He said Intuitive’s goal is to play for the Moon “the same role as highways, railroads, and shipping lines are for Earth.” He continued, “With that blueprint, we can look forward to applying the same methodologies and lessons learned to our next frontier, whether that’s Mars, asteroids, or the moons of Saturn.”

If you have thoughts, let us know at [email protected]!

 🌊 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

Should Donald Trump be allowed to criticize witnesses and prosecutors in the case against him?
Yes: 40%
No: 60%

Yesterday's Question:

What is the worst piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Taylor: “Just Be Happy”

Yvonne: “1987 at the top of the "Massachusetts Miracle" : Buy the condo. Real estate always goes up. It sold at auction following bankruptcy at 40% of what I paid for it. Moral of the story: It is NOT always a good time to buy real-estate”

K-Rae from Oregon, Illinois: “The worst advice I ever received was ‘just relax, then it'll happen!’ My husband and I went through 6.5 years and 8 rounds of IVF to finally get our son. We dealt with male-factor infertility and immune-based female-factor infertility. Relaxation wouldn't have done it, and telling someone to relax puts the onus on them. It's the most insincere, insensitive comment. If you don't know what someone's struggle is, don't comment. Offer support, offer a listening ear....”

Edward from Bullhead City, Arizona: “To trust the Lügenpresse media. “

Jamie from Tea, South Dakota: “Buy bitcoin near the top about 6 months before it crashed because of the golden boy Fryed and all that fiasco!”

🧠 Final Thoughts

Thank you for trusting us to deliver your news. With everything going on in the world and all of the noise out there, delivering nonpartisan, independent coverage has never been more important. We don’t take that responsibility lightly. As always, our inbox is open to ideas, feedback, or comments!

Happy Humpday everyone!

—Max and Max