Discovery Returns Safely to Earth
Space Shuttle Discovery touched down early Sunday morning at the Kennedy Space Center in a rare night landing – only the 11th time a space shuttle landed in darkness. The total mission length was 10 days and consisted primarily of restocking the International Space Station.
3-D Images Reveal Moon’s South Pole
Using the NASA’s Deep Space Network of radar antennas, Cornell and JPL researchers have revealed the moon’s southern pole. Many craters near the pole are never lit by the sun, and it’s theorized they contain frozen water ice which could be of use to future moon colonists. This area will be the target for the Lunar Prospector’s final impact with the moon.
Shuttle Releases Disco Ball Satellite
Before its descent back to earth, Space Shuttle Discovery released the Starshine, a small ball covered with 900 highly-polished mirrors. 25,000 schools around the world are expected to track the Starshine’s orbit before it re-enters the atmosphere and burns up eight months from now.
Russia Can’t Afford Safe Landing for Mir
Now that Russia has announced they won’t be able to afford to keep Mir aloft, officials have admitted they don’t even have enough money to ensure it doesn’t hit an uninhabited part of the Earth when it crashes. Controlling the descent would require several Progress cargo ships dock with Mir and guide the station with their engines.