We're remembering this morning the first American woman to go into space: Sally Ride. She died yesterday in San Diego. Ride made her historic trip into space in 1983 aboard the space shuttle Challenger, a trip that made her an instant folk hero. NPR's Joe Palca has our report.
JOE PALCA, BYLINE: Sally Ride was born on May 26th, 1951. She grew up in the San Fernando Valley, just outside Los Angeles, where she went to Westlake High School.
SUSAN OKIE: She prided herself on being an underachiever.
Chickens are under quarantine in Tepatitlan, Jalisco State, Mexico. The Mexican government declared a national animal health emergency July 2 in the face of an aggressive bird flu epidemic that has infected nearly 1.7 million poultry.
Top influenza researchers around the world published a statement back in January saying they would temporarily hold off on any work with contagious, lab-altered forms of a particularly worrisome form of bird flu.
The unusual voluntary moratorium was supposed to last only 60 days, but it's been more than six months. And scientists don't agree on what should happen next.
Corn plants dry in a drought-stricken farm field on July 17 near Fritchton, Ind. The corn and soybean belt in the middle of the nation is experiencing one of the worst droughts in more than five decades.
Stop by most any unirrigated farm across the lower Midwest and you'll see crops in distress. Midwestern corn and soybean farmers are taking a beating during the recent drought, but it's not likely to drive many out of business.
Most of those farmers carry terrific insurance, and the worse the drought becomes, the more individual farmers will be paid for their lost crops. The federal government picks up most of the cost of the crop insurance program, and this year that bill is going to be a whopper.
Among those on Mitt Romney's list of potential running mates, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan has youth and experience, he's a conservative from a swing state, and he has big ideas and the policy chops to back them up.
But the chairman of the House Budget Committee would not be the safest of choices.
Back in February, when the Republican primary was still in full swing and the party's right wing was conspicuously unhappy with the idea of Romney, tax hawk Grover Norquist spoke to the Conservative Political Action Conference.
I'm standing next to a ridge, looking at the Syrian town of Salaqin. Just up on the ridge you can see the silhouettes of a mosque and couple of water towers. It looks like a very small, inconsequential town, but because it's on the Syrian-Turkish border it's very important to the rebels.
What the Syrian rebels are trying to do right now is carve out a kind of safe zone, a buffer zone where they can gather, assemble and plan attacks against the Syrian regime's army, and also a place where they can move weapons and money into Syria.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Reno, Nev., on Tuesday. It's a sort of launching pad for a foreign trip that will take Romney to three countries over the next week: the United Kingdom, Israel and Poland.
Romney, a man with a lot of domestic policy experience, is now trying to demonstrate his proficiency with international affairs.
Two American women cyclists from Idaho will race at this summer's Olympics. And their events couldn't be more different: Kristin Armstrong races the clock, wearing an aerodynamic teardrop helmet in the time trial.
Meanwhile, mountain biker Georgia Gould combines speed with technical prowess to navigate rocky descents and dirt trails.
Ride and her crewmates rocketed into space aboard Challenger at 7:33 a.m. Eastern Time on June 18, 1983. Ride later described the launch as "exhilarating, terrifying and overwhelming all at the same time."
Some of NASA's first female astronaut candidates take a break from training in Florida in 1978. From left: Sally Ride, Judith Resnik, Anna Fisher, Kathryn Sullivan and Rhea Seddon
Ride floats near Challenger's hatch.
Ride inside the control room during a simulation of a shuttle flight in 1981.
Astronaut Sally K. Ride, STS-7 mission specialist, communicates with ground controllers from the mid-deck of the earth-orbiting Space Shuttle Challenger in June 1983.
In 1983, Sally Ride became the first American woman in space. She blasted off aboard Challenger, culminating a long journey that started in 1977 when the Ph.D. candidate answered an ad seeking astronauts for NASA missions.
As occurs after seemingly every mass killing that involves firearms, the shootings in a suburban Denver movie theater last week have renewed calls for tougher gun control laws.
Just as predictably, those calls have led to pushback by gun-rights advocates who accuse those calling for stricter legislation of trying to exploit the tragedy to restrict Americans' Second Amendment rights.
Worth noting is that neither of the two major-party candidates running for the White House has engaged in any current gun control debate.