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Updated at 8:08 p.m. ET

Flights in and out of Chicago's two airports came to a halt Friday morning after a fire at an air traffic control facility.

As of early Friday afternoon at least some of the flights had begun taking off and landing, reports NPR's David Schaper in Chicago.

The Associated Press says: "The fire started in the basement of the Chicago Air Route Traffic Control Center in Aurora, about 40 miles west of downtown Chicago, city of Aurora spokesman Dan Ferrelli said in an emailed statement."

Krystal International Vacation Club / Creative Commons

Research shows that using your vacation time can have some major benefits. For one, it’s better for productivity, and -- as one study shows -- it can even be better for your health. But are Americans taking enough time off, or are we really a "no-vacation nation"? 

NASA's MAVEN spacecraft conducted a 33-minute burn of its six main engines to ease into an orbit around Mars after a nearly yearlong, 442 million-mile voyage from Earth. The probe's mission is to study the red planet's atmosphere.

This Sunday night, we headed back to Mars: NASA's MAVEN spacecraft fired its six main engines, slowing down enough so it could be captured by the gravity of the red planet and go into orbit.

MAVEN, which stands for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, is a distinctly un-sexy name for a project as cool as a sojourn to Mars. But whatever it's called, the probe is on a mission that should be of interest to everyone who likes living on Earth.

Earlier this week NASA announced that two private companies will build spaceships to take astronauts to the International Space Station. NASA hopes that both models will eventually be used by space tourists to get into orbit. Which got us wondering, which one would we rather fly in?

Some good news heading into the long weekend: Labor Day gas prices are at their lowest level in four years.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration says the nationwide average for retail regular was $3.45 per gallon on Aug. 25 — that's the lowest average price for a Monday ahead of Labor Day since 2010, and it's about $0.25 per gallon less than at the end of June this year. The current price is down from the record average of $3.83 for the 2012 holiday.

Best Travel Tips

Aug 26, 2014
fdecomite/flickr creative commons

Save money. Avoid long lines. Get better seats.

Check out our best travel tips conversation with Amy Farley, Travel Doctor columnist for Travel + Leisure magazine.

Astronaut Steven Nagel, who flew on four space shuttle missions in the 1980s and 90s, including two as mission commander, has died after a long battle with cancer, NASA confirms.

Nagel, an Air Force pilot who had logged many hours in fighter jets and as a test pilot, joined the NASA astronaut corps in 1978 in the first crop of trainees selected for the space shuttle program.

Krystal International Vacation Club / Creative Commons

Research shows that using your vacation time can have some major benefits. For one, it’s better for productivity, and -- as one study shows -- it can even be better for your health. But are Americans taking enough time off, or are we really a "no-vacation nation"? 

The head of the World Health Organization told leaders of the African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak that the deadly virus is "moving faster than our efforts to control it."

Marcy Kellar/flickr creative commons

Is it even possible, you might be wondering, to like all parts of a vacation, including re-entry? We think so. Our senior contributor, New Haven psychologist Nancy Horn, explains what goes into making vacation a less stressful experience, and also less about perfection. This is one of those podcasts worth listening to.

Long Wharf Theater

In 1914, the great British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton managed to keep 27 men alive for two years in possibly the most inhospitable climate on earth, Antarctica. The explorer has been hailed as one of the greatest leaders of all time, about whom many books have been written

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Toll booths have lots of bad connotations in the Northeast, and not just because of a the tragic accident in Connecticut nearly 30 years ago, which forced the closing of the toll booth.

Have you ever craved a salad, I mean really craved a salad because you've been eating a lot of freeze-dried meat and beans?

Astronauts who spend months on end in space sure do miss their greens. That's why NASA is embarking on a program to get astronauts growing their own food. First stop is the International Space Station and a vegetable production system called Veg-01, or "Veggie."

Paul Kline / Creative Commons

When I see starlight I marvel
the thousands of years it traveled
to meet me, before I was even
conceived, and think myself
a sort of time vector—a very
short one—in the midst of lines
that stretch along farther than I
can imagine. Behind me are things
evolving which that star’s light
is on its way toward, and each will
know itself the final destination—
though the light threads itself
through them like a needlepoint:
stitches them and me together
in contemplation of an image
of the past. Tell me, human,

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