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Notes from the Ground: A Visit to the Launch Pad

Atlantis Launch Notes: July 7, 6:00 P.M.KENNEDY SPACE CENTER—At T-11 hours and holding all day (as usual, a planned halt). Just got back from the launch pad—and just in time, seems lightning hit within a third of a mile from the shuttle...

July 7, 2011 — Michael J. Battaglia

Wrinkles Rankle Graphene

The 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics raised the profile of graphene—a super strong one-atom thick sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal pattern with countless potential commercial applications...

July 7, 2011 — Larry Greenemeier

Shifting Stigmas: The Act of Crying in Public

Jimmy Dugan firmly established that there’s no crying in baseball. But what about in public? In New York City, at some point or another you’re going to encounter a crying person—in fact, you could even be the crier.A few weeks ago, I boarded the subway for a short trip uptown...

July 7, 2011 — Krystal D'Costa

Notes from the Ground: One Day to Go to Final Shuttle Launch

Atlantis Launch Notes: July 7, 9:00 A.M.KENNEDY SPACE CENTER—As of now, NASA's final space shuttle launch is still on for Friday at 11:26 A.M. Eastern time, but a gathering storm bearing down on Florida's Space Coast remains a major concern.While waiting on a go/no-go decision from the mission managers yesterday afternoon, I decided to take a little field trip thrown by the people at SpaceX, the builders of the Falcon rocket and Dragon capsule, slated to carry cargo—and later up to seven crew members—to the International Space Station (ISS).Interviews and tours for the press brought me face to face with the Dragon capsule, which, at least in appearance, recalls both Apollo and the new Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle...

July 7, 2011 — Michael J. Battaglia

Truckin' Up to Low Earth Orbit, Part 3: The Shuttle Gives Science a Boost

This is the third of a three-part series that looks back at the 30-year history of the U.S. space shuttle program. Before the 1986 Challenger disaster made safety paramount and new constraints had been established, the shuttle could carry fueled upper-stage rockets to launch space probes, which embarked for planetary destinations...

July 6, 2011 — Michael J. Battaglia

Enormous, Endangered, Epileptic Loggerhead Turtle Gets MRI Brain Scan [Video]

How do you find out why a 1.5-meter-long endangered sea turtle is having epileptic fits? The first step is to find an MRI machine big enough to accommodate her not-so-ladylike girth.On June 25, "Snorkel," a 68-kilogram loggerhead sea turtle ( Caretta caretta ), traveled more than 500 kilometers from her home at National Marine Aquarium (NMA) in Plymouth, England, to Cheltenham Imaging Center, home of one the country's first open-bore MRI machines...

July 5, 2011 — John Platt

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