Science: Durable Orange

Nikita Khrushchev laughed when the U.S. finally got Vanguard I into space, and likened it to an orange. Last week the 3¼-lb. satellite soared into its second year in regions where huge Russian satellites have long since died. Vanguard's orbit, which climbs up to 2,500 miles and never comes lower than 400 miles, has hardly changed. Vanguard I has traveled something over 132 million miles. Its clear radio voice, powered by solar batteries, is still chirping as cheerily as ever, is expected to hold out for at least 200 years.

Vanguard has proved so...