Mir Weathers Another Breakdown

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MOSCOW: Mir's problems just keep getting more and more bizarre: After suffering yet another computer crash and a breakdown in its carbon dioxide-removal system, the station encountered a mysterious brown cloud drifting in space Monday. Russian space officials said the culprit is either a leaky fuel tank on one of Mir's idle thrusters, or debris from the punctured Spektr module. Whatever the cause, it couldn't have come at a worse time. Vice-President Al Gore is in Moscow for his biannual Mir meeting with Russia’s Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, while back on Capitol Hill, hearings are underway on whether NASA should even participate in the Mir program at all.