Astronomy: Reducing in Space

From takeoff on through its 118-mile-high flight last October, the Aerobee rocket performed perfectly. Then, shortly before it landed, a braking para chute opened with an unplanned jolt.

Two of the on-board cameras were torn loose and wrecked. From the one camera left, Princeton Astronomer Donald Morton was able to recover only three frames of exposed film —and two of those were unusable. But that final frame turned the whole experiment into a resounding success. Last week, after careful analysis of the spectral lines recorded on his film, Morton was able to...