The Maserati Birdcage Was A Superleggera Masterpiece

Welcome to Must Read, where we single out the best stories from around the automotive universe and beyond. Today we've got reports from Petrolicious, The Washington Post, and The New Republic.

The Maserati Birdcage Was A Superleggera Masterpiece

The Birdcage Sings The Song Of MaseratiPetrolicious

Another great feature on automotive history from Petrolicious, this one about the famed Maserati Tipo 60 and 61.

Arguably the ultimate evolutionary form of superleggera construction, the 60/61’s trademark frame of about 200 small-diameter chromoly tubes was designed for extreme light weight and high strength—cutting-edge tech in the days before extensive use of aluminum honeycomb, carbon fiber, and other structural composites.

The Maserati Birdcage Was A Superleggera Masterpiece

NASA's Mission ImprobableThe Washington Post

Here's a great interactive longread from the Post on NASA's current, sorry state and the outlandish mission they seek to accomplish: sending astronauts to an asteroid.

The mission, which could cost upward of $2 billion, would use a robotic spacecraft to snag the small rock and haul it into a stable orbit around the moon. Then, according to NASA’s plan, astronauts would blast off in a new space capsule atop a new jumbo rocket, fly toward the moon, go into lunar orbit, and rendezvous with the robotic spacecraft and the captured rock. They’d put on spacewalking suits, clamber out of the capsule and examine the rock in its bag, taking samples. This would ideally happen, NASA has said, in 2021.

“That’s our plan,” said Michael Gazarik, NASA’s top official for space technology. “We have to merge it with reality.”

Plans, goals, dreams and technological realities are difficult to sort through these days at NASA. The space agency has what might be called middle-age problems.

The Maserati Birdcage Was A Superleggera Masterpiece

Playboy in Marfa: The bunny invades the minimalist meccaThe New Republic

This story is from June, but after today it's a topical look at the intersection of art and commercialism in an unlikely place.

It’s one thing, though, for artists like Elmgreen and Dragset, with their evidently ersatz shoe emporium, to mock the larger art world’s absorption by the commercial domain. It’s quite another for a corporation itself to get in on the act, underwriting branded material that’s intended not as a critique of commercialization but as a simple PR opportunity.

Top photo credit Jez B