When NASA's next Mars rover blasts off later this month, the car-sized robot will carry with it nearly eight pounds of a special kind of plutonium fuel that's in short supply.
NASA has relied on that fuel, called plutonium-238, to power robotic missions for five decades.
But with supplies running low, scientists who want the government to make more are finding that it sometimes seems easier to chart a course across the solar system than to navigate the budget process inside Washington, D.C.
David Horcajada fishes a beer can out of his backpack at a Madrid square.
"Five years ago, believe me, there were really few people drinking on the streets," he says. "Right now, everybody is drinking on the street because people cannot afford to pay for drinks at bars. So since we're Spanish and we do drink, we party a lot, so it doesn't matter if we don't have money. We'll keep doing it."
The American art world's biggest event in decades is happening this week — but it's not where you'd expect it to be.
Bentonville, Ark. is home to Wal-Mart headquarters and, starting Nov. 11, it will also be home to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and what some critics are calling one of the world's best collections of American art.
The U.S. Supreme Court, an institution steeped in tradition, steps into the turbulent world of new technology Tuesday. At issue before the court is whether police must get a warrant from a judge before they can attach a GPS tracking device to a car so they can monitor a suspect's every movement for an indefinite period of time.
The case could have enormous implications for privacy rights in the information age.
It doesn't happen often, but there are times when a single book turns the world on its head. Isaac Newton's Principia unraveled the mystery of gravity. Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species explained how evolution worked.
But before either of these, there was On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres by Nicolaus Copernicus. It was published in 1543. In it, Copernicus made the astounding claim that Earth revolves around the sun, not the other way around.
From Los Angeles to New York City and Miami to Dallas, professional basketball fans face November without the NBA. The league keeps canceling games because of the ongoing lockout as players and owners squabble over future contracts.
Most NBA cities have other professional sports to turn to with hoops on hiatus. But some markets, like downtown Oklahoma City, only have one game in town.
More than 100 protesters have been killed in the past five days in clashes with government forces, Syrian activists said. Despite a ceasefire agreement with Arab League and despite protests from international governments, Bashar Asad's regime has continued its relentless assault against the opposition.
The number of Americans who use food stamps is now close to 46 million, that's 15 percent of the population. The program is formally known as SNAP these days, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. And the number of people who depend on it to buy groceries has grown substantially, even since the recession was officially declared over, back in June of 2009.