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Things That Go Boom in the Night

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In the minutes just before dawn this morning the Discovery Space Shuttle landed safely in our backyard; by "our" we mean Los Angeles, and by "backyard" we mean Edwards Air Force Base. Poor weather in Florida caused the landing locale to get shifted, as it often is, to California. Apparently the NASA commander on the ground asked shuttle commander Col. Eileen Collins how she would like a nice breezy California landing; we're guessing that those aboard Discovery would be happy to land anywhere so long as they weren't in bits and pieces like their most recent predecessors sadly were. And a safe landing it was, thankfully.

With Discovery having landed so near to us in LA, it's quite likely that you, too, heard a sonic boom or two in the environs of five this morning. We think that's what woke us up--at first we thought it sounded like someone jumping on our roof with a thud, and then we wondered: "Earthquake?" But it was quick, and rattle-free, so we dug in for some more sleep. Did anyone else hear the booms?

Photo: Monica Almeida/The New York Time