Four Bodies Found In Aftermath Of Building Explosion In Marseille, France

Four bodies have been found after an explosion demolished a four-story apartment building in Marseille, France. Local authorities on the scene stated that four other individuals remain unaccounted for as rescue efforts are ongoing, according to reports from BBC.

The cause of the explosion, which occurred early Sunday morning,  is still unclear. Authorities and investigators are currently looking into a potential gas leak that may have caused the explosion. 

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Oliver Klein, the housing minister, stated that the government will be supporting the victims’ families, and the discovery of the bodies was “gruesome, difficult and dramatic”. 

Around 200 people were evacuated from their homes while five individuals from adjacent buildings sustained minor injuries due to the explosion. 

Benoit Payan, the mayor of Marseille, told reporters Monday morning that there is still a risk that nearby buildings could collapse as over 100 firefighters attended to the blaze and damage caused by the explosion. 

Of the four individuals unaccounted for, two are a “young couple” who are believed to live in an apartment in the building; each floor of the building is said to house one apartment. The fire department stated that “given the difficulties of intervention, the extraction [of the bodies from the site] will take time.”

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Psychological support has been offered to individuals related to the explosion while a local gym and two schools have been opened up to accommodate anyone who has been displaced. 

French President Emmanuel Macron stated he was “thinking of those affected and their loved ones, [we thank] the emergency workers for their efforts.”

Mayor Benoît Payan said “rescuers remain determined to find people alive. Hope must hold us.”

Saveria Mosnier, who lives nearby, told local reporters: “I was sleeping and there was this huge blast that really shook the room. I was shocked awake as if I had been dreaming. We very quickly smelled a strong gas odor that hung around. We could still smell it this morning”.

Deputy Mayor Yannick Ohanessian told reporters that “several witnesses have reached us this morning to say there was a suspicious smell of gas.” 

Rescue and rehabilitation efforts are still under way as the investigation into the reasoning behind this tragedy are continued to be analyzed.


US Media Reports Israel As Being Responsible For Drone Attacks At Iranian Military Plant

According to reports from The Wall Street Journal and New York Times, Israel was responsible for drone attacks on a military plant in Iran; specifically in the central city of Isfahan. The New York Times cited a senior intelligence official who was familiar with the conflict between Israel and Iran. 

A US Department of Defense spokesperson also told CNN that the US has not conducted strikes or operations in Iran. 

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“We’ve seen the press reports, but can confirm that no US military forces have conducted strikes or operations inside Iran. We continue to monitor the situation, but have nothing further to provide.”

The Israel Defense Forces and Iran’s Defense Ministry have not offered any information regarding the attack.

“An explosion has occurred in one of the military centers affiliated to the Ministry of Defense. The explosion had left some damage, “but fortunately there were no casualties,” said the deputy head of security for Isfahan governorate Mohammad Reza Jan-Nesari to the Fars News Agency.

IRNA, a state news agency, also stated “the explosion had been caused by “small drones.”

“There was an unsuccessful attack by small drones against a defense ministry industrial complex and fortunately with predictions and air defense arrangements already in place, one of them (struck),” IRNA said.

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“The air defense system of the complex was able to destroy two other drones. Fortunately, this unsuccessful attack killed no one and minor damage was sustained to the roof of the complex.”

Within the past few years there have been several explosions that have occurred around Iranian military and nuclear facilities. 

According to Iran’s Supreme Nation Security Council, as reported by CNN, “In July 2020, a fire tore through the Iranian Natanz nuclear complex, a site that has been key to the country’s uranium enrichment program, in Isfahan Province, south of the capital Tehran. Iranian authorities decided not to publicly announce the findings on what caused the fire due to security concerns.”

In 2021, Natanz experiences a blackout, which Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization labeled a “terrorist action,” with a potential involvement from Israel.

No further reports on the recent explosion have been made at this time from either nation. 

SpaceX Headquarters

SpaceX Mars Rocket Explodes In What’s Seen As Successful Test Flight 

A giant experimental rocket that was built by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company was successfully launched eight miles above the company’s testing facilities in South Texas. The rocket launched and landed as planned before it crashed into the ground resulting in a massive plume of smoke and flames. 

No one was on board of the experimental rocket that was over 160-feet tall. According to Musk, the rocket will hopefully be used to haul massive satellites into Earth’s orbit, and will be able to shuttle people between cities at record speeds; which would also eventually lead to the human settlement on the planet Mars. 

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Musk hopes that this technology can be the first step in establishing a human presence on Mars, and the massive explosion at the end of the test landing wasn’t exactly unexpected. The name of the prototype vehicle is the “SN8,” which Musk tweeted had a one-in-three chance of landing safely back on Earth after its first test-flight. 

The SN8 did successfully manage to maneuver to its landing target however, according to Musk, the rocket’s fuel system caused it to make a crash landing. Musk and SpaceX in general are no strangers to embracing the mishaps that occur with their multitude of experimental flying vehicles. When an error occurs, the company quickly moves to create an upgraded version of whatever failed and keeps on experimenting until something successful is established.

SpaceX has previously attempted two previous launches of SN8 this week however both of those attempts were halted moments before the countdown clocks ran out. It hasn’t been made clear why those particular launches were paused while this one actually was able to occur, however, last-minute mission cancellations are not uncommon in general for space exploration. 

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The company claims that they’re still obviously a long way from building an operational Starship spacecraft that would be able to support human travel to Mars, however, this was an amazing first step in that direction. So far the company has been focusing on what models would be able to perform best under the pressure that occurs when the rocket enters into the varying atmospheres in space. 

The next SN8 model that will be tested is the first of its kind to have three engines installed and will have the highest amount of risk for failure as a result. Initially Musk wanted to launch the SN8 into the stratosphere, which would be around 11 miles about the Earth’s surface. The company later decided an 8 mile distance would be a much safer bet as at least they would know that the rocket could make it to the point that is widely considered the “edge of outer space.” 

The final starship design will have to have six engines in order to successfully enter Earth’s orbit on its own and launch at the rate that SpaceX is aiming for. The idea of putting human beings on Mars will obviously involve a lot of technological, political, and ethical questioning that will likely be ongoing past our lifetimes, however, this launch goes to show that the possibility is there, now it’s just a matter of time and execution.