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Discovery's Back... But Did The Bird Droppings Make It?

Inquiring Reporters Want To Know

Could avian leavings be something NASA should consider for a future heat shield material?

Don't laugh... as eyewitness accounts indicate the mysterious white markings on Discovery's wings -- reported in the first days of the shuttle's 13-day mission -- seem to have made it through the earth's atmosphere just fine.

"I was actually thinking about that," said shuttle pilot Mark Kelly Monday, in response to CBS Radio reporter Peter King's question about the markings' survival in a post-landing press briefing. "I was thinking, I need to go up there and find out what happened to those,' and then I forgot."

Fortunately, astronaut Mike Fossum had managed to take a quick look.

"They made it home," said Fossum. "They're a bit charred, definitely sterile."

"Is that more than you wanted to know?" Kelly quipped.

Just remember... if NASA comes out with a revolutionary new ablative heat shield in the near future... you read about it on ANN first!

FMI: www.nasa.gov

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