Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
Despite the rhetoric-laden bickering between Republicans and Democrats over how to pay for an extension of low-interest rates on government-backed student loans, it’s been clear for months that a deal would be reached. Neither the GOP nor the White House wanted to be blamed for spiking debt payments just before a national election, and Mitt Romney has been on record since late April as supporting an extension. With a July 1 deadline looming, it is safe to say that absolutely no one is surprised that Senate leaders are announcing that a deal is in hand.
So how was the main obstacle to an agreement reached? If readers recall, Republicans wanted to strip some funding out of healthcare reform to pay for interest rate extension, while Democrats proposed higher taxes for the rich. But both sides were mainly trying to score political points. The ultimate deal is a piece of classic Washington accounting tinkering.
The extension would be paid for by raising premiums for federal pension insurance, an idea acceptable to businesses because rules will also be changed on how companies calculate their pension liabilities. The pension proposal came from Reid.
Meanwhile, part-time students would be limited in the number of years they can receive subsidized loans, a suggestion from Republicans.
The extension only lasts a year, however, and so will doubtless have to be revisited. But in the meantime, you can scratch student loan debt off the presidential campaign whiteboard. That bomb has been defused.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.