American astronaut Leroy Chiao gives a thumbs up during the ride from a suit-up facility in Kazakhstan in 2004. The mission took Chiao to the International Space Station and was his last trip into space before retiring in 2005.
There are 30 years between the bookends of the first and last NASA space shuttle flights. In those three decades, the shuttles Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour flew well over 100 missions.
But this summer, the program draws to a close to allow the space agency to dedicate more funding and energy to exploring the farther reaches of space. In the process, NASA hands over greater responsibility to private space companies.
Jose Antonio Vargas works in his New York City apartment May 26. Vargas, a journalist, has revealed to the public that he is an illegal immigrant.
Credit Bonnie Jo Mount / Courtesy of The Washington Post
At the age of 12, Jose Antonio Vargas was taken to an airport in the Philippines, loaded onto a plane and shipped to the United States to live with his grandparents. For four years, he lived in California without knowing he was here illegally.
But when Vargas was 16 and tried to get his driver's permit at the D.M.V, a clerk whispered to him that his green card was fake — and that he shouldn't return to the D.M.V.
A Caterpillar Excavator at Dig This. Dig This let's park attendees drive and operate construction equipment.
Credit Ted Robbins / NPR
Las Vegas just opened up a new playground, but it's not for children.
It's called Dig This, and it claims to be the first heavy-equipment playground — as in construction equipment.
Before riding, participants attend a safety and equipment orientation. The park is also staffed with instructors, like Phil Chavez who is a former construction worker. Chavez can communicate with riders over a wireless headset, and just to be extra safe, he has a kill switch in case a machine gets out of control.
John Mackey, one of the greatest tight ends in NFL history who went on to be the first president of the National Football League Players Association, "died Wednesday of frontal temporal dementia, a disease he had battled for 10 years," the Baltimore Sun reports. He was 69.
Casey Anthony, the young Florida mother who was found not guilty of killing her 2-year-old daughter after a trial that dominated cable news networks and tabloids, was just sentenced to four years in prison for lying to police during the investigation.
A boy walks to school past a mural in a fenced off and locked lot along Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue Southeat in the poorest ward of the city on July 23, 2010 in the Anacostia section of Washington.
Credit Tim Sloan / AFP/Getty Images
This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com.
Andy Kroll is a reporter in the D.C. bureau of Mother Jones magazine and an associate editor at TomDispatch. A former intern at The Nation, his writing has appeared in Campus Progress, CBSNews.com and The Progressive Review.
President Barack Obama, joined by Vice President Joe Biden, visit the Gingerbread House Bakery in downtown Kokomo, Ind., during a visit to tout the city as a success story of the Recovery Act in November 2010. Owners, Lauren Gaines and her husband Matt, left, received a $140,000 loan from the economic stimulus to buy the former doughnut shop.
Credit J. Scott Applewhite / AP
Jeffrey H. Anderson was the senior speechwriter for Secretary Mike Leavitt at the Department of Health and Human Services.