As the Space Shuttle Endeavour began its final mission on May 16, the future of NASA’s human space program remains uncertain. The space shuttle program is steadily approaching its end, but the readiness of the space agency to move forward in a post-shuttle era remains to be seen.

Dr. Aevar Petersen, chair of Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF), recently told the Foreign Ministers of Arctic countries that the tree line in that region may grow 300 miles further north by 2100. “Changes seem to be happening even more rapidly than we had anticipated just ten years ago.… The tree line is moving north quite rapidly.”

On Thursday, May 12, the United States House of Representatives voted 243 to 179 to lift the offshore oil drilling moratorium. The bill could allow further oil and gas exploration in American oceans.

Entitled the “Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act,” the House-passed legislation demands that the Interior Department set a production goal of three million barrels of oil per day for it 2012-2017 leasing plan.

While gas prices hover around $4 a gallon — and in some cities surpass $4.50 a gallon — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is planning a Senate vote this week to annul tax credits and exemptions for oil companies.

The Army Corps of Engineers blew open two miles of levee along the Mississippi River in Missouri May 2, an effort that may have saved the community of Cairo, Illinois, but which flooded 200 square miles of fertile farmland, which Missouri Governor Jay Nixon called “literally the most productive part of our continent.”