to the moon
May 14, 2021

It's the meme that just won't go away (but will go "to the moon," apparently).

A Rhode Island man sold a vacant lot in Providence for 150,000 Dogecoin (or about $50,000 at the time), in what is believed to be the first real estate deal brokered using the meme-inspired cryptocurrency, local TV station WJAR reported Thursday.

"He said, 'I think it would be really cool if we could only sell my lot using Dogecoin,'" realtor Kyle Seyboth said of the unnamed seller. Now, the sale has Seyboth's "phone ringing from people who want to do the same thing," even if fluctuating prices make it impossible to know whether the buyer or the seller will come out on top.

Dogecoin first began as a joke, in the wake of 2013's popular Doge meme. But after recent endorsements from Elon Musk and a subreddit of online investors, the digital currency has seen quite the meteoric rise in value. Prices dropped after Musk's May 8 appearance on Saturday Night Live, and again when the SpaceX CEO announced Tesla would stop accepting "Bitcoin as payment," but still it remains the "fourth-largest crypto by market value on CoinMarketCap," per CNBC.

As of Friday morning, Dogecoin was up 39.4 percent after crypto exchange platform Coinbase announced it would officially list the coin, reports CNBC. Brigid Kennedy

April 17, 2021

NASA on Friday tapped SpaceX to help bring humans back to the moon later this decade as part of its Artemis Program.

The agency announced Friday that it will award Elon Musk's company a $2.89 billion contract for the development of its Starship vehicle, an uncrewed flight test to the moon, and, finally, a crewed mission that will land on the lunar surface. SpaceX beat out Dynetics and Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin for the opportunity, thanks in large part to its affordability. SpaceX's bid cost about half of Dynetics' and a quarter of Blue Origin's, Ars Technica reports. So while Starship has plenty of innovative features that made it an enticing candidate, "budget appears to have been the biggest factor" since NASA has struggled to secure funding from Congress for the lunar landing.

Ars Technica suggests NASA likely isn't done, however, explaining that "a sole-source award to SpaceX for the Human Landing System will certainly not be particularly popular in Congress, where traditional space companies such as Lockheed Martin and newer entrants like Blue Origin have more established lobbying power." In other words, the move "sends a clear message from NASA and the White House" — which has endorsed the Artemis Program and its goals — "to budget writers in the House and Senate." Read more at Ars Technica. Tim O'Donnell

April 1, 2019

The White House is insisting NASA send astronauts to the moon by 2024, but for that to happen, the agency is going to need more money.

Last week, Vice President Mike Pence said NASA must get humans back on the moon within the next five years, and if they are unable to meet this timetable, "we need to change the agency, not the mission." During a town hall meeting on Monday, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told employees the agency is going to need a lot of additional funding, but was otherwise low on details. He did reveal that one plan involves building an outpost called a Gateway that could be placed in orbit around the moon; the problem with that is this doesn't exist yet, and NASA also doesn't have a way to get astronauts back and forth between the Gateway and the lunar surface.

Many of the employees are skeptical that NASA — which had aimed to get astronauts to the moon by 2028 — will be able to make the White House's deadline, The Washington Post reports. "Accelerating our return to the moon is an unfunded mandate," one employee said. "How will we do it without gutting our other important missions?" Bridenstine said he believes the White House will be able to come up with a way to get additional funds over to NASA, adding, "I'm not suggesting there are not holes here. The reality is we're moving quickly, and we're looking at all options. There is nothing off the table." Catherine Garcia

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