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Added November 09, 2009 with 20 photos
Added November 09, 2009 with 31 photos
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Added October 21, 2009 with 10 photos

For the first time in more than a quarter century, a new rocket, the Ares 1-X, has been placed on a Kennedy Space Center launch pad in Florida.

NASA said its Ares I-X flight test rocket arrived at the pad atop a giant crawler-transporter at approximately 7:45 a.m. EDT Tuesday. The crawler-transporter left Kennedy's Vehicle Assembly Building at 1:39 a.m., traveling less than 1 mph during the 4.2-mile journey. The rocket was secured on the launch pad at 9:17 a.m.

The rocket is to be launched next Tuesday at 8 a.m. on its first test flight. The Ares I is being designed to carry astronauts into space in the Orion crew exploration vehicle.

During the next week, technicians will perform a variety of electrical and mechanical checks to ready the vehicle for flight. During the test flight, data will be collected from more than 700 sensors throughout the rocket.

"With the arrival of Ares I-X at the pad, this milestone demonstrates NASA's world-class ability to conceptually design, build and process a new launch vehicle in just under four years," said Bob Ess, mission manager for Ares I-X.

Ares I-X is an uncrewed, sub-orbital development test vehicle in a modified Ares I configuration. Ares I-X is the first developmental flight test of the Constellation Program, which includes the Ares I and V rockets, Orion and the Altair lunar lander.

Added October 19, 2009 with 6 photos
Added October 17, 2009 with 12 photos
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Added October 14, 2009 with 14 photos
Added October 13, 2009 with 10 photos

HALF MOON BAY, Calif., Oct. 13 (UPI) -- An Iowa man's 1,658-pound pumpkin was the winner -- and record-setter -- at the 36th Annual Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off in California.

Don Young, 45, of Des Moines was awarded $9,948 for topping pumpkins entered by 60 growers from California, Washington and Oregon at Monday's competition in Half Moon Bay, Calif.

Event organizers said Young's pumpkin, dubbed the "Monster from the Midway," crushed every giant pumpkin record in the state. It will be displayed at the Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival during the weekend.

While a gargantuan gourd, indeed, Young's plump pumpkin would not have made the grade at this month's Ohio Valley Giant Pumpkin Growers Weigh-In where Nick and Christy Harp of Jackson Township near Massillon beat all comers wit the 1,725-pound pumpkin they grew, WJW-TV in Cleveland reported at the time.

Added October 12, 2009 with 8 photos

Gaza's only zoo hired a local artist to paint donkeys to look like zebras to attract crowds, zoo officials said.

Keen to keep one of Gaza's only attractions open to the public, head keeper Mahmoud Barghouti said the zoo's financial situation forced him to seek a creative solution to the problem of not being able to afford new animals, a report in Yedioth Aharonoth said Thursday.

"It is the only place of entertainment left in Gaza. We used to have two zebras but they died from starvation during the military offensive. Some of the other animals escaped and died and some were stolen," he told the newspaper.

The faux zebras are the zoo's main attraction and young visitors love to take photos with them.

"Currently the children of Gaza must suffice with cats and dogs and donkeys painted as zebras, and the lioness Sabrina," he said. One of the zookeepers said they explain to the visiting children how the dogs, cats and monkeys were smuggled in through tunnels from Egypt, the newspaper said.

Added September 28, 2009 with 6 photos
Added September 24, 2009 with 30 photos
Added September 23, 2009 with 10 photos
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