Science: That's It

Poet John Donne once listed "goe and catche a falling star" among life's impossible jobs. And Air Force Captain Harold E. Mitchell, who had been assigned the chore, last week had reason to agree: he had missed the week before. His specially equipped C-119 Flying Boxcar, patrolling a 12,000-sq.-mi. patch of the Pacific near Hawaii, had tried to snare Discoverer XIII's descending instrument capsule, coming from outer space, in midair. He almost caught it—but had to watch helplessly while the capsule fell to the ocean below, to be picked up by the U.S. Navy....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!