In this x-ray photo provided by NASA, the sun is shown early in the morning of Aug. 1. The dark arc near the top right edge of the image is a filament of plasma blasting off the surface - part of the coronal mass ejection. The bright region is an unassociated solar flare. When particles from the eruption reach Earth on the evening of Aug. 3-4, they may trigger a brilliant auroral display known as the Northern Lights. NASA/AP
This Feb. 19 file photo, shows the International Space Station with Earth's horizon as a backdrop. Several power systems have been shut down aboard the ISS after a cooling system malfunctioned. NASA says in a posting on its website that one of two cooling loops aboard the space station was shut down, July 31. A module that pumps ammonia coolant to prevent equipment from overheating was still shut down early Aug. 1. NASA/AP/File
In this July 28 satellite image, oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is visible on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. NASA/AP
The Crab Nebula, the result of a supernova noted by Earth-bound chroniclers in 1054 A.D., spans about 10 light-years. In the nebula's very center lies a pulsar: a neutron star as massive as the Sun but with only the size of a small town. The Crab Pulsar rotates about 30 times each second. J. Hester/ A. Loll/ ESA/ NASA
In a very unique setting over Earth's colorful horizon, the silhouette of the space shuttle Endeavour is featured in this photo by an Expedition 22 crew member on board the International Space Station, as the shuttle approached for its docking on Feb. 9 during the STS-130 mission. NASA
The Orion Nebula is a 'happening' place where stars are born. The young stars dip and peak in brightness; shifting cold and hot spots on the stars' surfaces cause brightness levels to change. This image was taken after Spitzer's liquid coolant ran dry in May 2009, marking the beginning of its 'warm' mission. JPL-Caltech/NASA
Russian spacewalkers Fyodor Yurchikhin and Mikhail Kornienko, who have identical markings on their spacesuits, work outside the International Space Station in this image from NASA TV July 26. The spacewalkers will work to outfit the Russian Rassvet module's Kurs automated rendezvous system, install cables, and remove and replace a video camera during their extravehicular excursion. NASA TV/Reuters
In Black Rock, Nevada, a team of eight high school students successfully launched a 1,100-pound rocket into space. The students, led by instructor Tom Atchison of Rocket Mavericks, designed, built and launched the rocket using only Sony VAIO laptops with Intel processors. Traveling nearly 3x speed of sound and reaching a Mach 2.8 level, the rocket successfully launched into the stratosphere. Eric Kaufman/Sony via AP Images
Darkness enshrouded space shuttle Endeavour as it touched down on Runway 15 at the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. After 14 days in space, Endeavour's 5.7-million-mile STS-130 mission was completed on orbit 217. Tom Joseph/NASA
Former US Astronaut, the participant of Apollo-Soyuz space flight, the first international space mission, Thomas Stafford, speaks to the media in the Space exploration museum in Moscow, Russia, July 19. The participants of Apollo-Soyuz space flight met marking the 35th anniversary of Apollo spaceship docking with a Soyuz spacecraft in orbit. Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP
The US announced steps toward a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas Wednesday, but the leader of Hamas insisted the Islamic militants would not relent until their main demand of lifting an Egyptian-Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip is met.
ByIbrahim Barzak and Tia Goldenberg, Associated Press
The United States announced signs of progress in cease-fire talks Wednesday, but prospects for a quick end to the fighting were dim as Palestinian families fled fierce battles in southern Gaza and the death toll rose to more than 700 Palestinians and 34 Israelis.