Rescue of icebound ship has setback
A Chinese icebreaker that was en route to rescue a ship trapped in Antarctic ice was forced to turn back today after being unable to push its way through the heavy sea ice. The Snow Dragon icebreaker came within 7 miles of the Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy, which has been stuck since Christmas Eve, said expedition spokesman Alvin Stone. The Akademik Shokalskiy, which has been on a research expedition to Antarctica, wasn't in danger of sinking, and there are weeks worth of supplies for the 74 scientists, tourists and crew on board. An Australian icebreaker will try to reach the area by Sunday.
Boy, 9, youngest to reach mountaintop
A 9-year-old boy from Southern California has become the youngest person in recorded history to reach the summit of Argentina's Aconcagua mountain, which at 22,841 feet is the tallest peak in the Western and Southern hemispheres. Tyler Armstrong of Yorba Linda reached the summit on Christmas Eve with his father, Kevin, and a Tibetan sherpa. They were in fine spirits Friday as they left. "You can really see the world's atmosphere up there. All the clouds are under you, and it's really cold," Tyler said, describing the summit to the Associated Press. Aconcagua's previous record-holder was Matthew Moniz of Boulder, Colo., who was 10 when he reached the summit in 2008.
Spacewalk sets Russian record
Two Russian astronauts completed a spacewalk Friday that included an unsuccessful attempt to install cameras on the exterior of the International Space Station. Oleg Kotov and Sergei Ryazansky placed the high-resolution cameras early in the venture, but the cameras were not able to transmit data to Russian Mission Control, and the astronauts were told to remove them and bring them inside the space station for inspection. The spacewalk lasted eight hours and seven minutes, setting a new Russian record. It was the third spacewalk in a week. U.S. astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Michael Hopkins performed two on Dec. 21 and Tuesday to remove and replace a faulty cooling pump.