1.9.2024

Facts, with motives.
 

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Good morning. It's Tuesday, Jan. 9, and we're covering a lunar mission hitting a snag, the college football national championship, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Peregrine Malfunctions

A NASA-funded robotic lunar mission that would have returned the US to the moon's surface for the first time since 1972 appears to be in jeopardy due to a fuel leak that developed shortly after the private spacecraft's successful launch. 

 

The 202-foot-tall Vulcan Centaur rocket—developed by the United Launch Alliance—blasted off yesterday from Cape Canaveral, Florida, successfully sending the Peregrine moon lander—developed by Astrobotic Technology—on its way (see video; see photos). Roughly seven hours into the flight, Peregrine's propulsion system malfunctioned, depleting the spacecraft's propellant and preventing a solar panel from properly pointing toward the sun. Peregrine was carrying NASA scientific equipment and human remains from two commercial space burial companies. The lander was previously expected to reach the moon's surface Feb. 23. 

 

Peregrine was the first mission under NASA's 2018 Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative (see overview), which has awarded billions of dollars to private companies to help land their spacecraft on the moon. Houston-based Intuitive Machines is expected to launch its own lander with a SpaceX rocket next month.

 

Hail to the Victors

Top-ranked Michigan won the College Football Playoff National Championship last night, dropping the No. 2 Washington Huskies by a score of 34-13. The win marks the program's 10th title, its first since splitting with Nebraska in 1997, and its second since 1948. 

 

The Wolverines pounded the Huskies on the ground in the first and fourth quarters, with running backs Donovan Edwards and Blake Corum both rushing for more than 100 yards and two touchdowns a piece. Star quarterback JJ McCarthy was held to 140 yards passing and no scores, but made key plays when needed down the stretch. McCarthy, who has amassed a 27-1 record as a starter, is projected as a first-round draft pick should he declare for the NFL.

 

The victory also brought a sense of vindication for coach Jim Harbaugh, who quarterbacked Michigan for three seasons as a player (1984-86). Harbaugh missed six games this season, suspended twice for three games for recruiting infractions and allegations the program broke sign stealing rules.

 

See photos from the celebration here, along with way-too-early rankings for next season

 

Alaska Airlines Fallout

Plane manufacturer Boeing saw its stock drop 8% yesterday amid fallout from Friday's near-tragic incident outside Portland, Oregon, where a piece of one of its planes flew off midascent, and the cabin depressurized. The incident prompted US officials to temporarily ground and inspect 171 737 Max 9 aircraft—primarily used by United and Alaska Airlines. United reported an inspection yesterday revealed loose bolts in several aircraft.

 

Investigators have not determined why the unused emergency exit door came off seven minutes into the flight. Regulators said the incident could have been far worse since no one was seated next to the loose exit door, and passengers still wore seatbelts as the plane ascended. The depressurization reportedly sucked out headrests, clothes, and phones—one of which was discovered intact in a field. A teacher outside Portland found the door in his backyard Sunday. 

 

Boeing is the world's largest plane manufacturer by revenue but has suffered major losses amid a string of quality control issues since 2018, including two fatal crashes of the 737 Max, which killed 346 people over six months.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with Jambys

> Tiger Woods and Nike end partnership after 27 years; Woods reportedly earned $500M during his tenure with Nike (More)

> Franz Beckenbauer, German soccer legend and two-time winner of the Ballon d'Or award, dies at 78 (More) | Top 18 picks of 2024 NFL Draft order set (More)

> Hulu’s “Welcome to Wrexham” is big winner at Night 2 of 2023 Creative Arts Emmys with five wins (More) | Prince's "Purple Rain" film to be adapted into Broadway musical (More)

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Science & Technology

> Electronics giant LG debuts fully transparent 77-inch high-definition television; reveal comes on the first day of the Consumer Electronics Show (More) | What to expect from CES 2024 (More)

> Experiments suggest diamond rain in the atmosphere of icy planets may form at lower pressures than previously thought, may offer insight into the magnetic fields of Neptune and Uranus (More)

> Tasmanian devil die-off caused by contagious cancerous facial tumors is allowing competing predator species to proliferate and evolve; devil population dropped by 70% between 1996 and 2020 (More) | Devil facial tumor disease 101 (More)

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close higher (S&P 500 +1.4%, Dow +0.6%, Nasdaq +2.2%) as technology giants drive stock rebound; Nvidia shares close up 6.4%, reaching all-time high of $522 (More)

> Newell Brands, maker of Rubbermaid and Sharpie, to cut office staff by 7% by year end (More) | Johnson & Johnson to acquire cancer drugmaker Ambrx Biopharma for $2B (More) | JetBlue CEO to step down in February; company's president to become first woman to lead a major US airline (More)

> US office vacancy rates up 19.6% in Q4 from 18.8% a year ago; the figure is the highest level since 1979 when records began (More) | National Association of Realtors president resigns, alleging blackmail threat (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Israeli airstrike in southern Lebanon kills a senior Hezbollah commander of the militant group's Radwan Force, which is deployed along Israel's border (More) | Over 300 arrested after pro-Palestinian rally blocks New York City tunnel and bridges (More) | See war updates (More

> House Oversight Committee releases text of resolution recommending Hunter Biden be held in contempt of Congress for ignoring subpoena for closed-door testimony last month (More) | See resolution (More) | Dr. Anthony Fauci begins two-day closed-door testimony before House subcommittee on the pandemic (More)

> Former President Donald Trump to attend appeals court hearing today on immunity claims in Georgia election interference case (More) | Florida Republicans oust state party chairman who faces rape allegations (More) | At least 21 injured in downtown Fort Worth, Texas, hotel blast (More)

 

In-Depth

> Medical Nightmares

The Atavist | Rae Nudson. How countless victims sought justice against an OBGYN doctor who lied to his patients about test results and performed hundreds of unnecessary surgeries. (Read)

 

> The Catch

Long Lead | Emily Sohn. Virginia Kraft, a female journalist for Sports Illustrated for 26 years, broke her way into publishing’s male-dominated world in the 1960s. So, why hasn’t anyone heard of her? (Read)

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Etcetera
 

Humpback whales create a Fibonacci spiral.  

 

American Red Cross declares blood shortage.

 

North Korea's leader turns 40—maybe.

 

The cellphone of the future could detect air quality.

 

Robotic exosuit helps people with Parkinson's disease.

 

Photo captures stealth bomber flying over football stadium.

 

A 1960s home made from rocks and glass bottles.

 

Want to drive the Wienermobile? Now's your chance.

 

Clickbait: Mouse caught on camera cleaning a man's shed.

 

Historybook: "Common Sense" published by Thomas Paine (1776); President Richard Nixon born (1913); Activist and singer-songwriter Joan Baez born (1941); Catherine, Princess of Wales born (1982); iPhone makes its debut (2007).

"Action is the antidote to despair."

- Joan Baez

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