The presence of Hurricane Dean in the Caribbean has brought forward the return of the space shuttle Endeavour. If the storm changes course and blows to the northern Caribbean, it would mean the evacuation of NASA’s ground control in Houston, Texas.
To avoid this scenario, Endeavour will touch down on Tuesday, a day early. Some of the shuttle’s tasks were cut short or cancelled before it disengaged from the International Space Station, where it was on a construction mission. Endeavour is returning with a small cut in one of its heat shields, but NASA has decided this is not a safety threat during atmospheric reentry.