The following is a statement from NASA Administrator Sean
O'Keefe regarding Saturday's successful landing of the first Mars
Excursion Rover (MER), Spirit, on the Martian surface.
"Congratulations to the Mars Rover team on achieving a successful
landing on the surface of Mars by the Rover Spirit. This amazing
feat, coming so soon in the New Year, is a tribute to the
dedication to the many men and women throughout NASA and our many
partners who worked extremely hard to give our amazing rovers the
best chance for success on their mission of exploration on the Red
"In a few weeks, Spirit's twin Opportunity will be landing on the
other side of the planet. The rovers will soon begin their mission
to search the rocks of Mars for signs that water may have been
present for lo
Search crews plow the waters off the Egyptian coast, hoping
against hope they'll find survivors from an Air Flash 737-300 that
went down shortly after take-off Saturday. But there is little
cause for hope that any of the 148 people -- mostly French tourists
-- on board have survived.
Egypt's Civil Aviation Ministry was quick to say the crash appeared
to have been an accident, that there were no indications terrorism
was involved. The French Deputy Transport Minister, Dominique
Bussereau, said the pilot of FSH604 radioed shortly after take-off
from Sharm el-Sheik that he had detected problems with the
aircraft. There was little indication beyond that of the nature of
the problems. The pilot reportedly tried to turn back for the
airport, but didn't make it.
After being canceled for two days in a row, British Airways
Flight 223 from Heathrow to Dulles took off Saturday, as security
officials in both Britain and the US said they were satisfied it
was safe to fly.
"The Department for Transport has confirmed to us that they are
satisfied that it is safe for the aircraft to go," said an airline
spokeswoman, on customary condition of anonymity. "Safety and
security is our absolute priority and would not be compromised. We
would not operate any flight unless we were satisfied it was safe
to do so."
The Stardust probe has done what it was designed to do -- a
fitting tribute to any aircraft of spaceship. It went out to meet
the comet Wild 2, made a hair-raising near pass at almost 14,000
mph. Operating more than 242 million miles from Earth, Stardust
came within 149 miles of Wild 2 (pronounced Vilt 2), snapping
photos like a mad tourist and scooping up tiny particles of what
could be the original cake mix used to form the universe.
"We have successfully collected samples from a comet and we're
bringing them home," said Don Brownlee, of the University of
Washington, the mission's main scientist.
For all the extra security at airports over the holidays, the
only serious threat to surface amid the hush-hush and the "nothing
to see here" comments from Washington occurred -- not on a foreign
flight, but on a domestic run from Detroit (MI) to Honolulu (HI).
The suspect wasn't a foreign terrorist, but a 31-year old American
from Tennessee, who allegedly told members of the flight crew he
"needed to go to the cockpit."
VIP TFR For St. Louis
Issued: 01/02/2004 20:08
Effective: 01/05/2004 19:20 - 01/06/2004 01:30
Facility: ZKC - KANSAS CITY (ARTCC),MO.
Description: ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, JANUARY 5, 2004
VIP TFR For Morgan City
Issued: 01/02/2004 19:00
Effective: 01/05/2004 18:10 - 01/07/2004 23:50
Facility: ZHU - HOUSTON (ARTCC),TX.
Description: MORGAN CITY, LOUISIANA, JANUARY 5-7, 2004
The State Department says it's investigating the aircraft
involved in a deadly Christmas Day crash off the coast of Benin in
West Africa, suggesting the same 727 was stolen from an airport in
Angola last year.
The US had been looking
frantically for the 727, worried that it had been stolen by
terrorists intent on using it to attack targets in
America. The US even used satellites to image remote
airfields, hoping to catch a glimpse of the wayward airplane.
But it took a Canadian pilot flying for a humanitarian agency to
spot the aircraft. Bob Strothers said he saw the same airplane on
the ramp in Conark
Charles Brady, acting TSA chief at Washington Dulles
International Airport (VA), is now on administrative leave after he
was arrested at 3:00 am after a Metropolitan Washington Airports
Authority police officer spotted him driving erratically down Route
28 in Northern Virginia.
TSA spokeswoman Jennifer Marty said it was obvious the 49-year old
Brady wasn't where he was supposed to be doing what he was supposed
to be doing. "Obviously it was New Year's, and obviously it was not
only a chance to practice but to be on site during the holiday to
make sure everything goes smoothly," Marty said. Asked who at the
airport had indeed made sure everything went smoothly at that hour,
Marty replied, "I couldn't tell you."
"I'm glad we didn't know those were there. We would have been
Source: Don Brownlee, University of Washington
professor and main scientist on the Stardust Mission. Saturday, the
spacecraft swept within 149 miles of the comet Wild 2, capturing
stunning photographs and dust particles that could shed light on
the origins of the solar system. One of the photos showed five
distinct jets of primordial gas venting from the head of the comet.
Stardust flew through two of them.
The good news is that nobody was hurt. The bad news is that
someone has a big mess to clean up.
A Delta MD-80 from Atlanta ran off the end of the runway at
Pensacola Friday night. The flight carried 140 passengers and five
crew members. The aircraft's landing gear sank in the soft dirt at
the end of Runway 17. Otherwise, officials on the scene say there
was no indication of damage. Still, they admit, getting the
aircraft out of the dirt without causing structural damage to the
MD-80 is, as the Brits say, a "real poser."
It's extraordinary news.
NASA has confirmed that its Spirit Rover has reached the surface of
Mars, as scheduled, at 2035 PM PST (2335 PM EST) Saturday. NASA's
JPL has received early signals from the rover indicating that
it survived the landing and is operating. We'll have more
information as it is released.