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Space

Submission + - It's Baaack! XB-37B finally lands. (af.mil)

ColdWetDog writes: The US Air Force / DARPA 'baby shuttle', the Boeing built XB-37B has just landed after 469 days in orbit. No official explanation of why controllers kept the mission going past the original duration of 270 days other than 'because we could'.

I, for one, welcome our long duration, unmanned orbital overlords.

NASA

Submission + - To Boldly Go Nowhere (theatlantic.com)

ColdWetDog writes: A brief note in the Atlantic notes that Congress has failed to supply funds to continue Plutonium-238 production, needed for radioisotope generators for NASA's interplanetary probe programs. No PU-238 means no more missions like Cassini-Huygens and pretty much anywhere that the sun doesn't shine enough to power the satellite via solar cells.

The article notes that the only other source of PU-238 is Russia — either through the government or through trolling through Siberia and the Russian coastline looking for old Soviet Era lighthouses and power stations.

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