SpaceX’s Starship went down in a blaze of glory—and left a mess for locals who warned about the impact

y Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images

In what was supposed to be the first voyage of the most massive rocket ever built, SpaceX’s Starship experienced multiple engine failures and quickly began losing altitude and tumbling moments after launch.

It resulted in an explosion that caused residents near the launch site in South Texas to notice ashy particulates falling from the sky and vibrations in their classrooms and homes. 

The city of Port Isabel said there is no immediate concern for people’s health and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk declared the fireworks show a victory, saying SpaceX “learned a lot for the next test launch in a few months.” 

But for the community near the site, it will take time to clean up from this one—a nearby road was covered in debris and temporarily closed and teams dedicated to protecting the bays and estuaries of the Texas coastal bend are busy surveying the damage. It’s an area where shorebirds have had their habitat disrupted from prototypes that exploded after previous test launches, and at least two species have stopped or reduced nesting in recent years, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

It’s these concerns that drew residents to release a statement before the launch, blasting SpaceX and elected officials for declining to meet about Starship and often cutting off their access to the beach.

“Whenever Elon Musk and his accomplices, the Cameron County Commissioners and Texas General Land Office, close Boca Chica beach for his pet project SpaceX, they destroy our native life ways.” wrote Juan B. Mancias, Carrizo Comecrudo Tribal Chairman. 

The local community’s clash with SpaceX to protect and access their beach and wildlife represents a striking contrast to the company’s grand vision for the future. SpaceX wants to make humans a multi-planetary society, and Musk has shared his thoughts that getting humans to Mars and the “greater Solar System” could protect us if large-scale devastation happened like an asteroid hitting Earth. 

For now, though, it’s SpaceX’s work that’s causing destruction as it struggles to even reach the Pacific Ocean.

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Andrea Guzman


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Humane's mystery gadget finally revealed. It's been several years since former Apple employees Imran Chaudhri and Bethany Bongiorno launched a secretive, and richly-funded startup that they promised would re-invent the way we interact with our gadgets. Now we finally have a first peek at what Humane has been working on.

Inverse obtained a recording of the startup's first live demo during a TED Talk. The device sits inside a pocket and projects information, like an incoming phone call, onto a user's palm. Users can control the mysterious device with voice commands and physical gestures.

In the recording, Chaudhri describes the product as a standalone device that doesn’t require pairing with a phone or any other device. “We like to say that the experience is screenless, seamless, and sensing, allowing you to access the power of compute while remaining present in your surroundings, fixing a balance that’s felt out of place for some time now,” Chaudhri says.

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