July 31, 2014 in Nation/World

In brief: FBI gets its man, wanted for Louisiana rape, killing

From Wire Reports

NEW ORLEANS – A man on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list in connection with a 2008 rape and homicide has been captured and brought to Louisiana, where the crime took place.

The FBI reported on its website that Jose Manuel Garcia Guevara surrendered to authorities in Mexico and was returned to Lake Charles, Louisiana, Wednesday morning.

Guevara is accused of breaking into 26-year-old Wanda Barton’s home in Lake Charles on Feb. 19, 2008, raping her and then stabbing her to death in the presence of her then-4-year-old stepson.

Guevara was placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list last year. His was the 499th name to be added to the list, which was started in 1950.

State authorities in 2008 charged Guevara with second-degree murder, aggravated rape and aggravated burglary.

Mars rover logs 25th mile, far beyond ‘wildest dreams’

Opportunity, the little rover that could, has broken a 41-year-old driving distance record that’s out of this world. The decade-old NASA Mars rover has crossed the 25-mile mark, surpassing the 24.2-mile record held by the Russian moon rover Lunokhod 2.

Not too shabby for a rover that landed on the Red Planet in 2004 with a 90-day mission and an odometer geared for a roughly 0.6-mile drive, said John Callas, the mission’s project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge, California.

“No one in their wildest dreams thought the rover would last this long,” Callas said.

No one’s betting against Opportunity now. It may be aging, with an arthritic elbow and a somewhat disabled front wheel, but it has long outlived its twin rover, Spirit, and lasted roughly 40 times as long as it was supposed to.

The previous record-holder for distance, the Lunokhod 2, was sent loping around the moon’s surface by Russia in 1973. It covered 24.2 miles in less than five months – speedy compared with Opportunity’s 10-plus years.

Opportunity’s extra miles have allowed its handlers to make remarkable discoveries, because the robotic explorer has been able to venture far outside its landing site. Though it discovered hints of past water soon after landing in Eagle Crater, the water was acidic and unsuitable for life. Only after leaving its landing site and arriving at Endeavour Crater did the rover discover signs of neutral, drinkable water – a key ingredient for life-friendly environments.

If Opportunity can do about 1.2 more miles, it will reach Marathon Valley (so named because it marks the 26.2-mile point). The valley holds layers of rock rich in clay that could give new insight into the Red Planet’s geologic story.

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