A Global Hawk unmanned aircraft comes in for a landing at the Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Va., on Sept. 7, 2012, after studying Hurricane Leslie. The remotely controlled planes can stay in the air for as long as 28 hours and fly over hurricanes at altitudes of more than 60,000 feet.
For several weeks now, two unmanned spy planes have been flying over the Atlantic on an unusual mission: gathering intelligence about tropical storms and hurricanes.
The two Global Hawk drones are a central part of NASA's five-year HS3 (Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel) Mission investigating why certain weather patterns become hurricanes, and why some hurricanes grow into monster storms.
This artist's illustration shows the Voyager 1 space probe. The spacecraft was launched on Sept. 5, 1977, and as of August 2012, it is outside the bubble of hot gas, known as the "heliopause," that radiates from the sun.
NASA's two Voyager spacecraft, launched in 1977, have made history in a dramatic fashion by exploring the outer planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Now one of the vehicles, Voyager I, has made another pioneering leap. It is the first spacecraft to leave the vast bubble of hot gas that surrounds our solar system.
At long last, Voyager 1 is now in interstellar space.
A NASA image of one of the Voyager space probes, launched in 1977 to study the outer solar system and eventually interstellar space.
Credit NASA / Getty Images
Stop us if you've heard this one: A spacecraft flies out of the solar system ...
Yes, the planetary probe Voyager 1, launched in the era of Jimmy Carter and bell-bottoms, has finally left the room, so to speak, years after completing its primary mission: a "grand tour" of the gas giants Jupiter and Saturn (twin Voyager 2 also visited Uranus and Neptune).
And years after we first started talking about its departure.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden speaks before Friday night's launch of the LADEE moon orbiter. The craft has run into a small technical issue, NASA says, which it will fix before it arrives at the moon next month.
An unmanned Minotaur rocket carries NASA's newest robotic explorer, the LADEE spacecraft, into Earth orbit and then to the moon.
Credit Carla Cioffi / AP
Updated, 11:40 p.m. EDT
The LADEE spacecraft is on its way to the moon. The rocket and its two-stage separation was visible at least from the Washington D.C. suburbs, and likely up and down the East Coast, given the clear skies.