Mark Stencel

Were last night's convention references to Barack Obama's mother and her struggles with an insurance company before her death a powerful argument for health care reform? Or were they a well-worn misrepresentation of history?

The answer appears to be in the wording.

The best place to stand in the entire solar system at 1:14 a.m. ET Monday was about 150 million miles away, at the bottom of Gale Crater near the equator of the Red Planet.

Looking west around mid-afternoon local time, a Martian bystander would have seen a rocket-powered alien spacecraft approach and then hover about 60 feet over the rock-strewn plain between the crater walls and the towering slopes of nearby Mount Sharp.

Would President Obama swap Joe Biden for Hillary Clinton on his 2012 ticket? NPR's Political Junkie Ken Rudin is dubious. "Where this comes from I do not know," he declared in his Monday column dismissing the speculation about any plans to replace Biden.

Friday morning was absolutely your last chance to watch a 20-story-tall space shuttle rise, pivot and speed away over the Atlantic Ocean with a crew of NASA astronauts aboard.

Hundreds of thousands of onlookers claimed their spots on the Florida coast to watch the liftoff of Atlantis. And of the shuttle program's 135 launches, Friday's was a suspenseful one.

Is retiring astronaut Mark Kelly ready to launch a new career in politics?

"I'll go into more detail about that next week, when I visit Iowa and New Hampshire," Kelly joked Friday during a luncheon appearance at the National Press Club.

Brenda Mulberry runs a T-shirt and custom merchandise shop just a few miles from the southern gate of the Kennedy Space Center — close enough that when shuttle Endeavour rumbled into orbit Monday morning, it rattled the building.

Thursday may have officially been Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day, but Malia and Sasha Obama picked an interesting day to follow their father around.