Flooded helmet still a mystery
The spacewalking astronaut who came close to drowning in a flooded helmet searched for clues in his spacesuit Wednesday, in hopes of understanding the unprecedented water leak. Engineers in Houston, meanwhile, conducted their own investigation into what should have been a routine, yet still risky, maintenance job outside the International Space Station. But a day after one of NASA's most harrowing space walks in decades, answers eluded the experts. "There still is no smoking gun or definite cause of what happened or why that water ended up" inside Luca Parmitano's spacesuit, said NASA spokesman Kelly Humphries. Parmitano, Italy's first and only spacewalker, could not hear or speak by the time he re-entered the space station on Tuesday, 1½ hours after stepping out. He also had difficulty seeing because of the big globs of water in his helmet and elsewhere in his suit. He'd worn the same suit on a space walk a week earlier, without problem.
Pontiff won't use popemobile
Pope Francis is forgoing the bulletproof popemobile for his upcoming trip to Brazil for the Catholic Church's youth festival, further evidence that he has no qualms about tweaking the Vatican's security operations for the sake of getting closer to the faithful. The Vatican said Wednesday that Francis will use the same open-topped car he uses for zooming around St. Peter's Square to move about Rio de Janeiro, where he arrives Monday for the weeklong World Youth Day fest. He'll use a closed car for longer-distance drives, but the open-topped car for milling about the crowds.