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The all-civilian Inspiration4 crew is back on Earth after their three-day mission in orbit.
The big picture: The launch and landing of this fully amateur, private space crew marks a changing of the guard from spaceflight being a largely government-led venture to being under the purview of private companies.
Don't forget: NASA announced last year that it would work with Cruise on a film aboard the International Space Station — though it's unclear where that currently stands.
SpaceX's all-civilian Inspiration4 mission made history Wednesday night when it launched into orbit.
Why it matters: It's the first time a crew of amateurs has launched to orbit without a professional astronaut onboard. The mission also signals the start of a new era in space — one defined by an industry pushing to launch many more private people to orbit in the coming years.
The Inspiration4 crew is set to launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Wednesday evening. The first all-civilian flight to orbit will act as a proof of concept for SpaceX and the broader private spaceflight industry, which wants to send many more people to space in the coming years and decades.
The latest: SpaceX has completed fueling the Falcon 9 rocket. The launch, streamed live via SpaceX, remains on schedule for liftoff at 8:02 p.m. ET.
Recent missions from the space agency have been made possible with the work of Latino and Latina engineers.
Details: Aerospace engineer Diana Trujillo moved from Colombia to the U.S. speaking no English. She paid her way through school by working as a housekeeper. She is now a lead scientist for the Mars Perseverance rover.
When the Inspiration4 crew lives in space for three days, they'll do more than just sightseeing. The crew members also hope to perform experiments and fly a variety of sentimental items with them in space.
The big picture: This mission is like none that have flown before, but the crew is still planning to draw on the experiences of previous professional crews to help advance space science and attract the public to their cause.
The all-civilian Inspiration4 crew, launching to orbit this week, will force the space industry to contend with just how much risk ordinary people are willing to take on in order to build humanity's future in space.
Why it matters: The private space industry's goal of building an economy in space hinges on sending more people to orbit in the near future. But spaceflight is still an incredibly risky endeavor and it will likely remain that way for the foreseeable future.
Scientists think they may have found a type of supernova never before seen.
Why it matters: Typically, massive stars explode as supernovas when they run out of fuel, but researchers have been on the lookout for other kinds of stellar explosions that might help them better understand the strangeness of our universe.
NASA's Perseverance rover collected its first sample of a rock on Mars.
Why it matters: This sample and others in the future are expected to help scientists figure out whether the Red Planet once played host to life in its habitable environments billions of years ago.
The all-civilian Inspiration4 crew's training program to prepare them for their trip to orbit is a reality check on the space industry's goal to send many more ordinary people to space.
Why it matters: One day SpaceX, which is operating the upcoming mission, hopes to help establish a settlement on Mars and other companies like Blue Origin are working to build futures where millions of people live and work in space. In order to do that, more people need to fly to space — with far less preparation and more ease.