The Space Shuttle Discovery finally launched on Friday at 11:59 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The shuttle and its seven member crew will deliver supplies, equipment and a new crew member to the International Space Station.
The Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module, a pressurized "moving van" that will be temporarily installed to the station. The module is intended to deliver storage racks; materials and fluids science racks; a freezer to store research samples; a new sleeping compartment; an air purification system; and a treadmill named after comedian Stephen Colbert. The name Colbert ws chosen after it received the most entries in NASA's online poll to name the station's Node 3.
NASA's Mars Rover Opportunity is investigating a metallic meteorite the size of a large watermelon that is providing researchers more details about the Red Planet's environmental history.
The rock, dubbed "Block Island," is larger than any other known meteorite on Mars. Scientists calculate it is too massive to have hit the ground without disintegrating unless Mars had a much thicker atmosphere than it has now when the rock fell. Atmosphere slows the descent of meteorites. Additional studies also may provide clues about how weathering has affected the rock since it fell.