Jul 17, 2011, 8:02 p.m.
Astronauts pack up for last shuttle ride home
HOUSTON (Reuters) - The shuttle Atlantis astronauts finished packing more than 2 tonnes of old equipment and trash from the International Space Station into a cargo hauler on Sunday for the last shuttle ride back to Earth. The Italian-built storage pod will be loaded into Atlantis' payload bay early Monday, in advance of the shuttle's departure from the station early on Tuesday. The 13-day mission, the last of NASA's 30-year-old space shuttle program, is due to end with a landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 5:57 a.m. EDT (0957 GMT) on Thursday.
NASA probe enters orbit around asteroid Vesta
HOUSTON (Reuters) - A robotic NASA science probe slipped into orbit around the potato-shaped asteroid Vesta on Saturday to begin a yearlong study of the second largest object in the asteroid belt. NASA's Dawn spacecraft relayed a signal to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, to confirm that it had entered Vesta's orbit, about 117 million miles (188 million km) from Earth, the agency said early on Sunday.
U.S. astronauts gird for post-shuttle era
HOUSTON (Reuters) - Former chief astronaut Steve Lindsey announced his retirement on Thursday, the latest in a series of departures from the ranks of NASA's elite corps spurred by the end of the space shuttle program. For the U.S. space agency's newest astronaut recruits, however, the departure of veteran fliers means less competition for a dwindling number of assignments on the International Space Station.
NASA brings orbital dining down to Earth
HOUSTON (Reuters) - Armchair astronauts can take their dreams to the dining table on Thursday -- NASA is hosting a virtual dinner with the shuttle Atlantis crew. The dinner will include brie cheese, sausage and crackers to start the meal, grilled chicken or barbecue brisket, Southwestern corn and baked beans for the main course and apple pie for dessert.
Navy to help climate scientists in pirate-infested waters
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Climate scientists have turned to the United States and Australian navies to deploy robotic measuring devices in the Indian Ocean where pirates have made the area too dangerous for researchers. About a quarter of the Indian Ocean is now off limits to climate scientists trying to complete a global network of deep ocean devices that gather data crucial to climate change studies and weather forecasts.
Carbon dating technique to aid energy from waste
LONDON (Reuters) - A new use for carbon dating will aid the production of energy from wood and waste, said a bio-energy group on Thursday after British regulatory approval of the new test. Carbon dating is commonly used to estimate the age of ancient artifacts, exploiting the fact that a particular type of carbon disappears, or decays, at a fixed rate, so that the amount left behind clocks how much time has passed.
Texas artist's work hurtling through space with Atlantis
HOUSTON (Reuters) - It's a rare person who can say that her artwork is hurtling through space. But Rachel Hobson, a self-proclaimed space geek and crafts blogger, can certainly claim those bragging rights.