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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Astronaut Handymen Make Hubble Repairs

-- Astronauts from the space shuttle Atlantis completed the last of their five difficult spacewalks yesterday to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.

The work the astronauts did involved many of the common chores you might see your parents doing around the house, such as replacing batteries and trying to unscrew bolts that are stuck. They even dealt with the kinds of annoyances that can make any earthbound repair job frustrating.

"Oh, for Pete's sake," complained astronaut Mike Massimino after he had spent hours strapped to a robotic arm out in space, only to have the battery in his power tool die. He had to finish the job using his own muscle power.

Yesterday's spacewalk finished the work of replacing or upgrading many of Hubble's instruments. Already considered the most important telescope ever made, Hubble will now be able to look even farther into space, gathering data and images of the oldest galaxies in the universe.

Boy, We Bet His Hands Were Tired!

-- Canadian pianist Gonzales (yes, he goes by just one name) broke a Guinness world record early yesterday after playing the longest solo piano concert ever. His playing time of 27 hours 3 minutes 44 seconds beat the previous record by nearly an hour. He played 300 pieces, including works by Beethoven and Britney Spears.

The Guinness rules allowed him a 15-minute break every three hours and a 30-second pause between pieces.

Practicing piano for half an hour no longer seems so hard, does it?

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