Unintended ears hear liar remark
The French president's overheard remark to President Barack Obama that Israel's prime minister is a "liar" laid bare escalating international frustration at deadlocked peace efforts — and left all three world leaders looking blemished. Obama, heard through an interpreter, responded, "I have to work with him every day." Some Israelis felt French President Nicolas Sarkozy said out loud what many think in private about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Russian probe to Mars moon
Russia has launched an unmanned probe on a daring mission to reach Phobos, a moon of Mars, and to fly samples of its soil back to Earth. The Phobos-Grunt (Phobos-Soil) craft was successfully launched by a Zenit-2 booster rocket from the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The return vehicle is expected to carry up to 7 ounces of soil from Phobos back to Earth in August 2014.
NASA plans 2014 Orion test launch
NASA announced plans Tuesday to add an unmanned test flight in 2014 to the development of its Orion crew capsule. Agency officials hope to blast the Orion from Cape Canaveral on a test mission that would entail two orbits around Earth before landing in the Pacific Ocean. "President Obama and Congress have laid out an ambitious space exploration plan, and NASA is moving out quickly to implement it," NASA spokesman David Weaver said in a statement. Orion is part of NASA's newly announced $30 billion effort to send future astronauts back to the moon or to a nearby asteroid.