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Debris Makes Space Station Astronauts Hunker Down

A discarded chunk of a Russian rocket forced six space station astronauts to seek shelter in escape capsules early Saturday, then ultimately safely passed in front of the space station, according to NASA.

NASA spokesman Rob Navias told The Associated Press ahead of the incident that the space junk would barely be close enough to be a threat. But if it had hit the station, it could have been dangerous, so the astronauts — two Americans, three Russians and a Dutchman — woke early and climbed into two Soyuz vehicles ready to rocket back to Earth just in case.

The debris came closest at 2:38 a.m. EDT. It was not noticed until Friday, too late to move the International Space Station out of the way.

This is the third time in 12 years that astronauts have had to seek shelter from space junk.

This report contains material from The Associated Press

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Jhumpa Lahiri Finds Freedom In Italian Memoir: 'No One Expected Me To Do It'

The Interpreter of Maladies author is a successful, Pulitzer Prize-winning English-language writer. But she found writing in Italian gave her true freedom; "Language is a very messy thing," she says.
NPR

Gulf Of Mexico Open For Fish-Farming Business

For the first time, companies can apply to set up fish farms in U.S. federal waters. The government says the move will help reduce American dependence on foreign seafood and improve security.
WAMU 88.5

What's Behind Trends In U.S. Violent Crime Rates

FBI data suggest there was a slight uptick in violent crime in the first half of last year, but overall violent crime rates in the U.S. have dropped dramatically over the last twenty years. What led to the long-term decline, and why do some say it’s likely to continue?

WAMU 88.5

Blocked: Twitter's Role In Combating Violent Extremism

Over the course of seven months, Twitter has suspended over 125,000 accounts for threatening or promoting terrorist acts.

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