"Ballistic re-entry" is a pleasant-sounding euphemism for what happened to Russia's Soyuz spacecraft on Saturday, but from press accounts like this one by MSNBC, it sounds as if the capsule basically crash-landed. What sort of questions does this incident raise for the safety of continued space exploration?
In other space exploration news, accomplished astrophysicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking stated last night that life probably exists on other planets but that it may not be intelligent enough to communicate with us. "Primitive life is very common, and intelligent life is fairly rare," he said, according to the Associated Press. "Some would say it has yet to occur on Earth."
Hawking endorsed human exploration of space, saying, "If the human race is to continue for another million years, we will have to boldly go where no one has gone before."