The News You Need To Read This Morning

Three hundred days of war in Ukraine, the rise of commercial space travel, and goodbye to the Mars lander InSight.

This is an excerpt from Incoming, BuzzFeed News’ morning newsletter dedicated to making sense of this chaotic world we live in. Join the club here.

A space-obsessed Japanese billionaire will send eight people to the moon in 2023

A view of the Earth appears over the Lunar horizon as the Apollo 11 Command Module comes into view of the Moon before astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin Jr. leave in the Lunar Module, Eagle, to become the first men to walk on the Moon's surface

In March 2021, Yusaku Maezawa, the Japanese billionaire behind the e-commerce site Zozotown, announced a contest to select eight civilian crew members to join him on a private spaceflight. After over a million applications for the flight, a crew has been selected, and it includes YouTuber Tim Dodd (aka Everyday Astronaut), Steve Aoki, K-pop artist T.O.P, Indian actor Dev Joshi, and four others.

The weeklong mission, called dearMoon, will fly around the moon and back on a SpaceX Starship sometime in 2023. The eight selected will accompany Maezawa, who flew last year to the International Space Station aboard a Soyuz spacecraft. Crew members have passed full health checks and a litany of tests, but they still have to undergo months of rigorous training.

“It’s insane to think about going 240,000 miles away from home,” Dodd told BuzzFeed News. “How do you physically and mentally truly prepare for that? It’s so absurd.”

DearMoon is the latest in a recent outpouring of civilian space travel opportunities. In the last few years, there's been a boon in private companies offering to take people off this wretched planet — for an astronomical price, of course. Virgin Galactic charges $450,000 for a spot on a suborbital space flight; a ticket on a Blue Origin flight has previously cost as much as $28 million. Private companies are aiming to build space hotels that will orbit Earth as early as 2027, the New York Times reported, and many believe that commercial space travel will be the new frontier of tourism within the next several years.

President Joe Biden said Russia is using "winter as a weapon" by freezing and starving Ukrainians

  • Wednesday marked the 300th day since Russia invaded Ukraine, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky traveled to Washington, DC, to meet with Biden. At the news conference, Biden described Russia's actions as "unprovoked, unjustified," and an "all-out assault on the free people of Ukraine."

  • Biden specifically promised $2 billion in defensive weapons and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. The US is also helping Ukraine make emergency repairs to its power transmission system and strengthen the stability of its grid, he said. Since March, the US has taken in 221,000 Ukrainian refugees.


Eight teenage girls swarmed a 59-year-old man in Canada and stabbed him to death, police say. A motive for the killing was not immediately released, and authorities are unclear on how or why the group of girls gathered in person on Saturday.

The NASA Mars lander InSight has died and people here on Earth are very upset. "My power’s really low, so this may be the last image I can send. Don’t worry about me though: my time here has been both productive and serene."

Lionel Messi's Instagram post celebrating Argentina's World Cup win has become the platform's most-liked photo ever. With more than 69 million likes, Messi’s post beat the previous record of more than 57 million likes for a photo of a brown egg.

Elon Musk said he'll step down as Twitter CEO as soon as he can "find someone foolish enough to take the job"

I will resign as CEO as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job! After that, I will just run the software & servers teams.

Twitter: @elonmusk

Just eight weeks after he first stepped into the role of Twitter's CEO, Elon Musk ran a Twitter poll on Sunday night to determine whether he should stay on the job. After a tumultuous few days in which Twitter banned both prominent journalists and the promotion of rival social media platforms — decisions that were subsequently reversed — more than 17.5 million users voted, and 57.5% said Musk should step down.

Musk announced on Twitter (where else, am I right) that he would indeed abide by the poll results. No timeline for a replacement has been announced yet, and Musk has previously warned that anyone wanting to run Twitter “must like pain a lot.” And whoever takes the helm of the company, which Musk purchased for $44 billion, will have a tough road ahead of them.

Twitter has never been profitable, and Musk has warned that it is on the way to bankruptcy. During the billionaire’s controversial time as CEO, major companies have halted advertising on the site. And problems are mounting elsewhere for Musk, who is also the CEO of Tesla. A number of high-profile investors have complained loudly that Musk’s erratic leadership of Twitter has adversely impacted the car company, whose share value plummeted from almost $400 at the start of this year to just $138 today.


Four firefighters sit on the back of a truck pulling away on an open urban road toward black smoke at night
a snowman illustration with the caption "standard = basic"
a snowman in a collared shirt throwing an arm up in the air like he just doesn't care. caption: "top coal button undone = disco isn't dead, just seasonal"
a snowman lying down half sunken into the snow, a small black figure stands on top of his abdomen. caption: "massive but toppled and swallowed by frozen desert = hubris is no match for the power of time."

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