If the proposed future of millions of people living and working in space — as it has been proposed by the billionaire space entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk — comes to fruition, it’ll be far more than just a few NASA astronauts grappling with how to observe their sun-centric religious practices.Jared Isaacman, the business owner who is preparing climb aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon to become the first space tourist to fly to orbit from US soil on September 15 said that, although he is Jewish, he doesn’t plan to observe Yom Kippur, which begins at sundown the day of his launch. “To be very honest, I’m actually not a religious person,” he said, acknowledging that he has been a contributor to a local synagogue in New Jersey. But if space tourists of the future choose to observe Yom Kippur — a day of fasting, repentance and worship — in space, they might have to grapple with deep theological questions.The history of observing religious practices — however awkwardly — from the confines of a hypersonic spaceship is actually decades long and full of rich anecdotes.Religion in space: A historyAstronauts and religious leaders attempted to imbue extraterrestrial pursuits with spiritual significance from the earliest days of spaceflight. During NASA’s Apollo 8 mission in 1968, the astronauts conducted a reading of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, on their way to orbit the moon. Buzz Aldrin, who was with Neil Armstrong during the first moon landing in 1969, also quietly took communion from the Eagle lunar lander — taking a sip of wine and a bite of bread blessed by his Presbyterian minister back in Houston — just before the men took humanity’s first steps on the moon. In 2007, Malaysian astronaut Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor became the first practicing Muslim to stay on the International Space Station, and the Islamic National Fatwa Council of Malaysia even issued special guidelines specifically to guide his and other future Muslim astronauts’ practices. Though his flight coincided with Ramadan, the council said his fasting could be postponed until he returned to Earth or else he could fast in accordance with the time zone of the place he was launched. He was also relieved of the obligation to attempt to kneel while praying — a difficult feat in zero gravity. And attempting to face toward Mecca, the holy land in Saudi Arabia, as Muslims must during Salah, or daily prayer, was left up to his best abilities, per the Fatwa Council guidelines. Jewish scholars have proposed similar ideas. Not all Jewish astronauts have attempted to observe Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest, which falls on Saturday, during which Jews are supposed to refrain from all work activity. But Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon did attempt it in 2003, when he flew aboard a Space Shuttle mission and, in keeping with advice from “leading rabbinical experts,” he observed Shabbat in accordance with Cape Canaveral, Florida time, the place from which he had launched. Among the other religious observances that have taken place on board the 20-year-old ISS are annual Christmas celebrations and the Jewish holidays of Passover and Hanukkah — including a memorable 1993 episode in which NASA astronaut Jeffrey Hoffman broadcast himself spinning a dreidel in microgravity on national television. “It’s a little game — a dreidel — and it’s something that you spin, and then you see which side comes up. And according to that, you either win or lose and I was just trying to see how you might reinterpret the rules for spaceflight since there’s no up or down,” he explained to the camera.As far as what theology says about how Jewish astronauts should observe Yom Kippur in space, there have not been any formal directives and — in fact — it’s sparked disagreements among some rabbis and religious scholars. For centuries, rabbis have grappled with the dilemma of how to celebrate timely holidays when the sun and the moon aren’t adhering to the norms that most humans are familiar with. A responsum, or a rabbi’s written response to a question about Jewish law, from Rabbi David Golinkin, president of the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, written in 2002 goes through some of the various arguments. A rabbi from the 18th century, Jacob Emden, was naturally not familiar with space travel, however he was familiar with the concept of traveling so close to the Earth’s North or South Pole that a traveler might not see a sunset for months. His resolution was to simply count “days” as one normally would at lower latitudes, by marking the passage of 24 hours. Another Rabbi from the 19th century, Israel Lifshitz, stated that if a traveler has a watch that shows the time at their point of origin, they should observe holidays according to that time.But faced with the modern-day issue of space travel, Golinkin wrote that NASA astronauts should set their watches to the U.S. Central time zone of Houston, Texas, since that is where most NASA astronauts are based.(The Inspiration4 crew is launching out of Florida, and presumably, if timed religious observance was an issue for any of them, they would then stick to the U.S. Eastern time zone.)On the other hand, Rabbi Dovid Heber, writing for kosher certification organization Star-K in 2007, simply says that “ideally, one should not travel to outer space.” But, “if one must go,” there are a number of different options that would satisfy the religious requirements. Heber does note, however, that it is theoretically possible to stretch what should be a one-day holiday into three days, depending on exactly where the spacecraft’s orbit lies.The rabbi of the synagogue Isaacman has supported, Eli Kornfeld of Hunterdon, New Jersey, told CNN Business that he agrees with Golinkin’s assessment. If he were one day living in space, he would still observe Yom Kippur fasts in accordance with Earth-based clocks. Though, he added, he would probably do everything in his power to avoid being in space during such an important Jewish observance. On Yom Kippur, Jews are not supposed work and typically avoid using electricity, driving cars or riding in airplanes. Still, Kornfeld said, he acknowledged that if, one day, millions of people are living and working in space, the Jewish faith would evolve and adapt with the circumstances. “I think one of the most beautiful things about Judaism — how it’s able to be relevant, and to adapt to all sorts of changing technologies and industry and discoveries,” he said.
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SpaceX will launch four space tourists on a three-day trip in space. Here's everything you need to know
This mission, dubbed Inspiration4, is the first orbital mission in the history of spaceflight to be staffed entirely by tourists or otherwise non-astronauts. Launch is slated for Wednesday between 8:02 pm and 1:02 am ET from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Brevard County, Florida, though forecasters are keeping a close eye out for storms that could impact the mission. The three-day journey will see the quartet free-flying through Earth’s orbit, whipping around the planet once every 90 minutes while the passengers float, buoyed by microgravity, and take in panoramic views of our home planet. To cap off the journey, their spacecraft will dive back into the atmosphere for a fiery re-entry and splash down off the coast of Florida. And yes, for all three days in space, the passengers will all have to share a special zero-gravity-friendly toilet located near the top of the capsule. No showering will be available, and crew will all have to sleep in the same reclining seats they will ride in during launch.This is far from the first time civilians have traveled to space. Though NASA has been averse to signing up non-astronauts for routine missions after the death of Christa McAuliffe, a New Hampshire school teacher who was killed in the Challenger disaster in 1986, a cohort of wealthy thrill-seekers paid their own way to the International Space Station in the 2000s through a company called Space Adventures. American investment management billionaire Dennis Tito became the first to self-fund a trip in 2001 with his eight-day stay on the International Space Station, and six others came after him. They all booked rides alongside professional astronauts on Russian Soyuz spacecraft.This mission, however, has been billed as the beginning of a new era of space travel in which average people, rather than government-selected astronauts and the occasional deep-pocketed adventurer, carry the mantle of space exploration. But to be clear, we are still a long way from that reality, and this trip is still far from “average.” It’s a custom, one-off mission financed by a billionaire founder of a payment processing company, and though pricing details have not been made public, it likely cost upward of $200 million. (According to one government report, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule costs roughly $55 million per seat.)Here’s a rundown of what’s happening and why it matters. The passengers: A billionaire, a cancer survivor, a geologist and a raffle winnerJared Isaacman, 38, the billionaire founder of payment processing company Shift4, who is also personally financing this entire missionHayley Arceneaux, a 29-year-old cancer survivor who now works as a physician assistant at St. Jude, the hospital where she was treated, in Memphis, Tennessee. She’ll be the first person with a prosthetic body part to go to space, and she’ll serve as the flight’s chief medical officer. St. Jude selected Arceneaux for this mission as Isaacman’s request, according to a Netflix documentary, and, at the time, she said she was so unfamiliar with space travel that she asked if she would be traveling to the moon, unaware that humans have not set foot on the moon in 50 years.Sian Proctor, 51, a geologist and educator who was selected for a seat on this mission through a post on social media in which she highlights her space-related artwork and entrepreneurial spirit. She’ll be only the fourth Black woman from the US to travel to orbit.Chris Sembroski, a 42-year-old Seattle-based Lockheed Martin employee and former camp counselor at Alabama’s famed Space Camp. He won his seat through a raffle he entered by donating to St. Jude Children’s Hospital, though he wasn’t the official winner. His friend snagged the seat and, after deciding not to go, transferred it to him. Isaacman — who will become the third billionaire to self-fund a trip to space in the past three months and the first to buy a trip to orbit on a SpaceX capsule — is billing this mission as one that he hopes will inspire would-be space adventureres, hence the missions’s name, Inspiration4. He’s also using it as the centerpiece for a $200 million fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Hospital, $100 million of which he donated personally and the rest he is hoping to raise through online donations and an upcoming auction. So far, a fundraiser has brought in $30 million of its $100 million goal.How did all this happen?Inspiration4 is entirely the brain child of Jared Isaacman and SpaceX.Isaacman began flying single-engine prop planes recreationally in the mid-2000s and developed an insatiable thirst for going higher and faster, eventually moving into twin-engine planes, then jets, then military-grade aircraft that can zip past the speed of sound.Each of Isaacman’s fellow passengers was selected in a different way: He asked St. Jude to select a cancer-survivor-turned-healthcare-provider, and the organization chose Arceneaux. Proctor won an online contest specifically for people who use Shift4, the payment platform Isaacman runs. And Sembroski was given his seat by a person who won a raffle for people who donated to St. Jude. (Sembroski also entered the raffle but was not the original winner.)Isaacman told CNN Business that he sat down with SpaceX to hash out the flight profile. He specifically wanted the Crew Dragon to orbit higher than International Space Station, which is why the spacecraft will orbit about 350 miles above Earth — roughly 100 miles above where the space station orbits. How risky is this?Any time a spacecraft leaves Earth there are risks, and there are no perfect measurements for predicting them.But NASA estimates Crew Dragon has a 1 in 270 chance of catastrophic failure, based on one metric the space agency uses. For comparison, NASA’s Space Shuttle missions in the 1980s to early 2000s ultimately logged a failure rate of about 1 in every 68 missions.Because of the inherent risks of blasting a spacecraft more than 17,500 miles per hour — the speed that allows an object to enter Earth’s orbit — Inspiration4 is more dangerous than the brief, up-and-down suborbital jaunts made by billionaires Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson.Apart from the many perils of the launch itself — in which rockets essentially use controlled explosions more powerful than most wartime bombs to drum up enough speed to rip away from gravity — there’s also the re-entry process. When returning from orbit, the Crew Dragon’s external temperatures can reach up to 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit, and astronauts can experience 4.5 Gs of force pushing them into their seats, all while the ever-thickening atmosphere whips around the capsule.During a Netflix documentary about the Inspiration4 mission, Musk described a capsule going through reentry as “like a blazing meteor coming in.””And so it’s hard not to get vaporized,” he added.After that the Crew Dragon then has to deploy parachutes to slow its descent and make a safe splashdown in the ocean before rescue ships can whisk the four passengers back to dry land.Despite the risks, a former NASA chief and career safety officials have said the Crew Dragon is likely the safest crewed vehicle ever flown.The vehicle: SpaceX’s Crew DragonAll four passengers will spend the entire missions aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, a 13-foot-wide, gumdrop-shaped spacecraft that detaches from SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket after reaching orbital speeds. The SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule was developed by Elon Musk’s rocketry company for the specific purpose of ferrying NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station, which it did for the first time ever in May 2020.Since then, SpaceX has launched two additional Crew Dragon missions for NASA. SpaceX is allowed, however, to sell seats — or entire missions — to whoever the company chooses. Although NASA paid for much of the Crew Dragon’s development, under the terms of the deal between the federal agency and the company, SpaceX still technically owns and operates the vehicle and can use it for whatever commercial purposes it wishes.Crew Dragon’s missions in the near future also include a mix of NASA-commissioned flights to the ISS and space tourism missions.For this mission, the Crew Dragon will be retrofitted with a giant glass dome at the tip of the spacecraft specifically for the crew to soak in panoramic views of the cosmos.Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated where Christa McAuliffe, the teacher who died in the Challenger disaster, was from. She was from New Hampshire.
But the biggest — and arguably only — surprise with the lineup this year isn’t something found inside a device: the pricing.Apple (AAPL) kept its iPhone prices mostly in line with last year’s models, despite rumors they’d be priced higher than ever because of current issues with the chip supply chain. Massive discounts and trade-in offers from US carriers, in some cases amounting to a free device, are available. And the company continues to offer iPhones at a wide range of price points to appeal to more customers, with or without any groundbreaking new features or design changes this year.”Apple has become the king of the ‘good, better, best’ portfolio with a phone at every relevant price point, particularly given it typically keeps older models in its line-up for those that don’t want to pay four figures for the latest and greatest new devices,” said Ben Wood, chief analyst of market research firm CCS Insight. “Add trade-in into the mix and it makes it possible to get customers signed up for a more expensive phone than they likely planned to purchase.”Trade-in offersFor people willing to trade in their existing iPhones and commit to a wireless plan for the next few years, the discounts are jaw dropping.AT&T (T), for example, is offering up to $1,000 toward a new iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max after a trade-in, while Verizon (VZ) is touting as much as $800 off any new iPhone, essentially paying for the cost of a 128 GB iPhone 13. (WarnerMedia, the parent company of CNN, is owned by AT&T.)T-Mobile is offering the possibility of a free iPhone 13 for eligible trade-ins and says that with its Forever Upgrade program, users can get up to $800 off their next iPhone every two years, “forever.” If users buy from Apple directly and select T-Mobile as the carrier, they’ll get a $700 credit toward a new iPhone. The deals go on and on.Trade-ins remain a central strategy for both mobile carriers and phone makers to drive replacement sales. The catch, however, is that users will need to trade in relatively new devices. Trade-in offers also typically tie customers to a long contract that can include high-priced data plans. Carriers want to keep these users loyal rather than seeing them move to a competitor network — and a discounted or free iPhone could be the right incentive to keep them there, according to David McQueen, a director at market research firm ABI Research. For Apple, it keeps customers deep within its ecosystem of products.Prices remain the sameNot only did Apple avoid raising base prices on the iPhone, but it effectively lowered the cost of certain iPhones when factoring in higher entry-level storage options.As analysts at Goldman Sachs pointed out in a research note Wednesday, the price of the 128 GB and 256 GB iPhone “was reduced when compared to those same storage capacities last year.”So why not raise prices this year, knowing that Apple always seems to find customers willing to pay top dollar for its devices? “I believe Apple is aware that it has hit a sweet spot with pricing and the marginal gain of slightly increasing prices versus the negative backlash it would face is not worth it,” Wood said. More than that, he said Apple is focused on boosting revenue from the many premium services built around the iPhone, such as iCloud storage, Apple Music and Fitness+. ‘Good, better, best’When Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone in 2007, there was one device and one entry price point for users. When Tim Cook took over as CEO, the options became more plentiful: big ones, smaller ones, mini ones, and prices that range from $399 for the iPhone SE all the way up to $1,599 for the 1 terabyte version of the iPhone 13 Pro Max. The strategic effort to appeal to as many people as possible will become one of Cook’s biggest legacies. It’s also one that’s translated to blockbuster sales. In April, Apple reported iPhone sales were at nearly $48 billion in the first quarter of 2021, a 65% increase over the same quarter last year, as consumers upgraded to iPhone 12 devices that offered 5G for the first time. Some things haven’t changed from the Jobs days, however. There may be a much wider range of options and prices for iPhones, but Apple still doesn’t come close to the lower-price tiers available on Android smartphones. “The company still focuses on profits and revenue rather than chasing volume and market share, which was the same mantra under Steve Jobs,” McQueen said. “Perhaps Jobs wouldn’t have launched as many device types at different sizes, as he always feared cannibalizing revenue streams — notably across iPad mini and larger screened iPhones.”Still, the number of iPhone variations and price points has only helped it appeal to more buyers — and it most likely will again this year, too.
In her testimony, Cheung detailed her growing concerns about the company’s devices failing quality control tests in the research lab as well as what she said was a manipulation of data to pass quality control. This made her question the capabilities of the startup’s proprietary testing machine, which she said was only being used on a small number of tests at the time it was hailed as the company’s revolutionary innovation.At times, she said, Theranos employees would delete up to two out of six data points as part of a test in order to pass quality control. She said there appeared no standard protocol within Theranos for when outlier deletion was appropriate, but noted it was something that happened “frequently” inside the company and said it would “normally be considered cherry-picking.”Cheung testified that she raised her concerns with higher-ups, including having a conversation with a top Theranos executive who she said dismissed her as being unqualified to weigh in. She said she was told she had little visibility into the company. Cheung quit soon thereafter, just six months after first joining the blood-testing startup in 2013 as a recent college graduate. Cheung first took the stand Tuesday as the government’s second witness in the long-awaited trial of Holmes, who faces a dozen counts of federal fraud and conspiracy charges over allegations she knowingly misled investors, patients, and doctors about the capabilities of her company’s proprietary blood testing technology. Holmes, who has pleaded not guilty, faces up to 20 years in prison.Cheung previously recounted being eager to work for a female founder promising patients the ability to test for conditions like cancer and diabetes with just a few drops of blood, only to become “really stressed and uncomfortable with what was going on,” as she put it Wednesday. Many of the details of Cheung’s experience have been highlighted over the years as she became a prominent figure in the disgraced startup’s story. Cheung, who reached out to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to look into Theranos in 2015, has been featured in “Bad Blood,” the definitive book about the company by then Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou who first broke the story, as well as in the HBO documentary “The Inventor.” She’s also given a TED Talk about her experience as a whistleblower.She testified she had “amassed a lot of evidence” suggesting that the company’s technology wasn’t adequate and she didn’t feel comfortable running patient tests. “I was attempting to tell as many people as I could but was not seeming to get through,” she said Wednesday, noting that she ultimately, as “a final resort,” spoke to a Wall Street Journal reporter, presumably Carreyrou although he was not directly named, who reached out to her about an investigation into the company.The prosecution presented a chart on Wednesday that included internal data from March 2014 showing roughly 25% of tests on Theranos’s proprietary devices failed quality control. Cheung, who left the following month, testified that this drastically differed from the failure rate of third-party testing devices approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. The latter rarely failed, she said. During cross examination, Holmes’ defense attorney Lance Wade attempted to highlight Cheung’s lack of experience and qualifications as a recent college graduate whose first job was with the startup by having her recount the names and qualifications of superiors on her team, including those with PhDs, medical degrees.Addressing her testimony about omitting outlier data, Wade showed calibration tables that indicated Theranos disclosed when such data was removed to show it was accounted for. He also presented to jurors the names of those who signed off on Theranos’ validation documents for regulators, including the lab director — Holmes’ signature was not on it. In the defense’s opening statement last week, Wade stressed to jurors that it is ultimately the lab director — not the CEO — who decides on the accuracy and reliability of tests.His cross examination of Cheung will continue when the trial resumes Friday.There was little direct mention of Holmes during the first few hours of Cheung’s testimony Wednesday, but toward the end of its questioning, the prosecution asked whether she had considered speaking to Holmes directly prior to quitting over her concerns. Cheung testified that she hadn’t, citing a close relationship with a colleague, Tyler Shultz, who was also a Theranos whistleblower and whose grandfather — the former Secretary of State George Shultz — sat on the company’s board. Tyler Shultz, Cheung testified, had sent Holmes an email about some of the same concerns she’d raised, including around quality control. (Cheung said Tyler Shultz had a closer relationship with Holmes so she didn’t do so herself.) Cheung said she and Shultz also met with his grandfather, who has since passed away, to appeal to him about their concerns. Tyler Shultz is also an expected witness.According to a court document filed last week, Theranos spent more than $150,000 on a private investigator to spy on Cheung and Shultz. Years after leaving the company, the two launched a nonprofit called Ethics in Entrepreneurship.
iPhone users are facing a software vulnerability that independent researchers say was used to spy on a Saudi activist. On Monday, Apple issued an urgent update to fix the issue. The company’s head of security engineering said in a statement that the vulnerability is used to target specific individuals and is “not a threat to the overwhelming majority of our users.” But it’s particularly dangerous because it opens the door to being hacked without users having to click on a corrupted link, as is the case with most other cyberattacks.And it can affect anyone who uses iMessage. Now, iPhone users can update their phones to iOS 14.8 to be protected from potential attacks. It’s as simple as going to your settings, clicking on “General” and checking the field that says “Software Update.”There has been a proliferation of so-called “zero click” attacks in recent months, largely believed to be enabled by spyware from Israeli firm NSO Group. The firm says it only sells its services to government agencies in order to combat terrorism and crime.In a statement on Monday, NSO Group did not address the allegations, only saying it “will continue to provide intelligence and law enforcement agencies around the world with life saving technologies to fight terror and crime.”Researchers, however, say they have found multiple cases in which the spyware was deployed on dissidents or journalists. And the increasing prevalence of attacks that can infiltrate devices without the user’s knowledge or involvement mean keeping your phone’s software up to date has never been more important. CNN’s Sean Lyngaas contributed to this report.
The company announced Wednesday that it will introduce a “passwordless account” option for all users of several popular services such as Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft OneDrive in the coming weeks. Microsoft previously made this option available to corporate accounts in March. “You can now completely remove the password from your Microsoft account,” Vasu Jakkal, the company’s corporate vice president of security, compliance and identity, wrote in a blog post Wednesday.Instead of passwords, Microsoft (MSFT) will let users sign in to these services with either the company’s Authenticator app, which produces a unique numbered login code every few seconds, or with Windows Hello, which lets users sign in using facial recognition, a fingerprint or a unique pin. Microsoft users can also buy an external security key, like a USB drive with login information stored on it, or register a phone number to which Microsoft sends a verification code. The change from Microsoft comes after a spike in cyberattacks over the past year. With the majority of corporate employees working from home because of the coronavirus pandemic, hackers have many more avenues to infiltrate a company’s systems — and compromising passwords is one of their most common strategies. (Microsoft has also had its share of security issues in recent months, with its services linked to multiple high-profile hacks and breaches.)Passwords can often end up for sale on the dark web, where they are bought and used to hack even more services. Hackers have even gone after password managers that aim to make login data more secure, with popular service LastPass hacked in 2015.According to Microsoft, 579 password attacks take place every second, adding up to 18 billion attacks a year. And cybersecurity experts have said the weakest link is human behavior — our tendency to re-use the same password across accounts so it’s easy to remember, or create patterns for different passwords that are easy for hackers to guess.”Weak passwords are the entry point for the majority of attacks across enterprise and consumer accounts,” Jakkal said. Microsoft appears to be leading by example in its effort to pioneer a passwordless future. According to Jakkal, almost all of the company’s own employees now log into their corporate accounts without passwords.Other companies such as Google (GOOGL) and Apple (AAPL) also offer password alternatives — sending a notification on another device to verify your identity, for example — but those solutions haven’t completely replaced the need to type out a password just yet.