Extraterrestrial awesomeness had nothing to do with the big sky show across Southern California Sunday night.
Elon Musk's SpaceX launched and landed a Falcon 9 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, marking a first for the space exploration corporation on the West Coast. The purpose of the launch, per a press release, was to launch the SAOCOM 1A satellite. The satellite was successfully deployed approximately 12 minutes after liftoff from Vandenberg Air Force Base, at which point the Falcon 9’s first stage returned to Earth.
Despite these facts, and their accompanying advanced warning, some were quick to attribute the launch's visual feast to something else entirely:
"What I'm doing at SpaceX is in a different league to people like Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos," Musk, who founded SpaceX in 2002, told GQ of his multi-planet exploration goals back in March. "Our vehicles have around 100 times more energy than Richard Branson's. What he's doing is great - in fact, I've bought a ticket! But there is a pretty big distinction: what he's doing will be a really fun joyride, but there's no path to making life multi-planetary, which is our goal. We want to put life on Mars."
Say what you want about Musk and/or that recent Tesla development, but at least we still have people with money willing to put said money into the continued pursuit of humans' higher purpose.