The Boston Citgo sign, all 3,600 square LED feet of which has served as the backdrop to Red Sox games since 1965, is now officially a "pending landmark."

Spanish Surrealist Salvador Dalí spent much of the 1940s in the U.S., avoiding World War II and its aftermath. He was a well-known fixture on the art scene in Monterey, Calif. — and that's where the largest collection of Dalí's work on the West Coast is now open to the public.

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The middle of summer is when the surprises in publishing turn up. I'm talking about those quietly commanding books that publishers tend to put out now, because fall and winter are focused on big books by established authors. Which brings us to The Dream Life of Astronauts, by Patrick Ryan, a very funny and touching collection of nine short stories that take place in the 1960s and '70s around Cape Canaveral, Fla.

When the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union last month, the seaside town of Port Talbot in Wales eagerly went along with the move. Brexit was approved by some 57 percent of the town's residents.

Now some of them are wondering if they made the wrong decision.

The June 23 Brexit vote has raised questions about the fate of the troubled Port Talbot Works, Britain's largest surviving steel plant — a huge, steam-belching facility that has long been the town's biggest employer.

Solar Impulse 2 has landed in Cairo, completing the penultimate leg of its attempt to circumnavigate the globe using only the power of the sun.

The trip over the Mediterranean included a breathtaking flyover of the Pyramids. Check it out:

President Obama is challenging Americans to have an honest and open-hearted conversation about race and law enforcement. But even as he sits down at the White House with police and civil rights activists, Obama is mindful of the limits of that approach.

"I've seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change," the president said Tuesday at a memorial service for five law officers killed last week in Dallas. "I've seen how inadequate my own words have been."

Mice watching Orson Welles movies may help scientists explain human consciousness.

At least that's one premise of the Allen Brain Observatory, which launched Wednesday and lets anyone with an Internet connection study a mouse brain as it responds to visual information.

The FBI says it is giving up on the D.B. Cooper investigation, 45 years after the mysterious hijacker parachuted into the night with $200,000 in a briefcase, becoming an instant folk figure.

"Following one of the longest and most exhaustive investigations in our history," the FBI's Ayn Dietrich-Williams said in a statement, "the FBI redirected resources allocated to the D.B. Cooper case in order to focus on other investigative priorities."

This is the first in a series of essays concerning our collective future. The goal is to bring forth some of the main issues humanity faces today, as we move forward to uncertain times. In an effort to be as thorough as possible, we will consider two kinds of threats: those due to natural disasters and those that are man-made. The idea is to expose some of the dangers and possible mechanisms that have been proposed to deal with these issues. My intention is not to offer a detailed analysis for each threat — but to invite reflection and, hopefully, action.


Millionaire Space Tourist Plans Manned Mission To Mars In 2018

Feb 27, 2013
Originally published on February 27, 2013 6:43 pm

The American businessman who paid $20 million to visit the International Space Station in 2001, has presented an ambitious plan for a manned fly-by mission to Mars.

If all goes as planned, a couple would be on a rocket headed to the Red Planet in January of 2018.

Space Ref reports that Dennis Tito has created a non-profit organization called Inspiration Mars Foundation that will raise the funds for the mission through donations.

The space news site, reports that, today, the organization released a study by a group of experts including NASA scientists that finds the mission is feasible with current technology.

Here's how Space Ref says the mission will work:

"The core premise of this initial mission concept is to use an upgraded SpaceX Dragon capsule as the habitable volume for the entire mission. This spacecraft would be launched on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy and follows an optimized free-return trajectory to Mars and back. As outlined in the paper, this conceptual mission would depart Earth on 5 Jan 2018, reach Mars on 20 August 2018, and return to Earth on 21 May 2019.

"The closest that the spacecraft would get to Mars would be 100,000 km - and the crew would only spend 10 hours within that distance of the planet - with closest approach on the night side. Not too different than the first human mission to the Moon when all things are taken into account

"Upon return, the Dragon capsule would use Earth's atmosphere to slow down via aerobraking. This has never been done with a human mission before. Ten days after aerobraking the Dragon capsule would return again to Earth and reenter at 14.2 km/sec. This would be the fastest reentry by any crewed spacecraft - ever. As such, this mission will require some advanced Thermal Protection System research. To that end Paragon/Inspiration Mars have already signed a reimbursable Space Act Agreement with NASA Ames Research Center. A check for $100,000 has already been presented to NASA to begin this work."

The BBC reports that mission planners are looking for an older couple who could survive the very challenging — and incredibly cramped — conditions of the year-and-a-half long trip.

"The plan was to choose a middle-aged couple because their health and fertility would be less affected by the radiation they would be exposed to during such a long space mission," the BBC reports. reports that Tito is not planning on going on the mission himself.

The site asked Tito if this was a science mission.

"At first, I thought this is not a science mission," Tito said. "This is for inspiration; it's a test flight to show we can get there. You're going to learn a lot about the engineering problems. But then as I started learning more about the life sciences, apparently [the benefits] are huge. There hasn't been really any information on human behavior in this kind of environment. The impact of radiation, the isolation — the academics are all very excited. It'd be a huge scientific value in the life sciences."

Tito said he gives the mission a "good chance" of taking off in 2018.

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