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JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(HIROSHIMA, Japan) — “Seventy-one years ago, on a bright, cloudless morning, death fell from the sky and the world was changed," President Obama began, imagining the horror of Aug. 6, 1945. "A flash of light and a wall of fire destroyed the city. It demonstrated that mankind possessed the means to destroy itself."

After laying a wreath at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, President Obama mourned the Japanese, Korean and American victims of the world's first atomic blast in World War II.

"Their souls speak to us, and they ask us to look inward, take stock of who we are and what we might become," he said.

Invoking the image of a mushroom cloud over Hiroshima, the president cited "humanity's core contradiction' -- the capacity for "unmatched destruction" -- and called for a "moral evolution."

"That is why we come to this place," Obama said. "We stand here, in the middle of this city and force ourselves to imagine the moment the bomb fell. We force ourselves to feel the dread of children confused by what they see. We listen to a silent cry."

Obama credited the United States and Japan for forging "not only an alliance but a friendship" and called for the ultimate elimination of the existence of nuclear weapons.

The United States currently maintains about 4,700 nuclear warheads, far less than the peak during the Cold War, when the U.S. had more than 31,000 nuclear warheads in its arsenal.

"We must change our mindset about war itself and prevent conflict through diplomacy and strive to end conflicts after they've begun," he declared. "We must reimagine our connection to each other, as members of one human race."

"The world was forever changed here but today the children of this city will go through their day in peace. What a precious thing that is. It is worth protecting and then extending to every child," Obama said, concluding his remarks. "That is the future we can choose. A future in which Hiroshima and Nagasaki are known not as the dawn of atomic warfare but as the start of our own moral awakening.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke after Obama, and then the two leaders greeted several atomic bomb survivors who were in attendance. Obama and Abe then spent several minutes observing the Atomic Bomb Dome.

Obama's visit to Hiroshima made him the first U.S. president to visit since the atomic bombing of the city more than seven decades ago.

Marine One landed in Hiroshima at 5:00 p.m. local time. The president was joined by U.S. ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of former U.S. president John F. Kennedy.


History. Accompanied by Ambassador @CarolineKennedy, @POTUS arrives in Hiroshima.

— Eric Schultz (@Schultz44) May 27, 2016


"We have known the agony of war. Let us now find the courage, together, to spread peace, and pursue a world without nuclear weapons," Obama wrote in a museum guest book.

The event capped off his five-day trip to Vietnam and Japan. After a long flight, President Obama returns to Washington on Saturday.

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iStock/Thinkstock(FALLUJAH, Iraq) -- An American airstrike has killed ISIS's top commander in Fallujah as the Iraqi military presses forward with its offensive against the ISIS-held city.

According to Colonel Steve Warren, the U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, an airstrike Wednesday targeting the ISIS headquarters in the city killed Maher al- Bilawi, the top ISIS commander in Fallujah.

The airstrike was "a result of intelligence that we gathered on the headquarters and his location," said Warren. "And we had the opportunity to take the strike and we took it."

He said al-Bilawi’s death “won't completely cause the enemy to stop fighting, but it's a blow. And it creates confusion and it causes the second-in-command to have to move up. It causes other leadership to have to move around."

Warren said not much was really known about al-Bilawi’s background.

In the four days since the Iraqi offensive began, Warren said the coalition has conducted 40 airstrikes, “totaling 57 engagements” that have destroyed ISIS fighting positions and resulting in the deaths of 70 ISIS fighters.

The offensive on Fallujah includes personnel from the Iraqi Army, police, the Counter Terrorism Service (CTS), and Sunni militia fighters. Shiite militias are also present as part of the operation, but have publicly stated that they will remain outside the city, easing concerns about retaliation from the Sunni-majority population.

Fallujah became the first Iraqi city to fall under ISIS control in early 2014 partly due to support from the local Sunni population that was resentful of the exclusionary policies of the Shiite-dominated central government in Baghdad.

But so far, the offensive to retake Fallujah has only progressed 10 miles outside the city. "It's still early in the Fallujah fight, so it's unclear how long this battle will last,” said Warren.

Some of the 50,000 residents still in the city have begun leaving, heeding the advice of Iraqi government leaflets by placing white sheets on their rooftops to prevent them from being targeted by airstrikes.

Warren said ISIS will do what it can to prevent large numbers of civilians from fleeing the city because their standard practice is to use local populations as human shields.

“This is an enemy that doesn't want the civilian population to leave," said Warren. "Why? Because they want to hide behind the civilian population. They know it makes it harder for us.”

Last week, Warren had told reporters that retaking Fallujah was not a military prerequisite for a future offensive on Mosul and indicated it would be a political decision to retake Fallujah.

He said Friday that with the recent rash of bombings in Baghdad, “surely that changes the political calculus for the civilian leadership of Iraq. We understand that completely and we accept it, and we're providing devastating air power in support of the decision that the prime minister of Iraq made to liberate Fallujah.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- American special operations forces photographed in Syria sporting patches of a Kurdish rebel group have been ordered to remove the patches because their use was "unauthorized" and "inappropriate," U.S. military officials said Friday.

Photos of the service members made public Thursday had outraged the Turkish government, which believes the Kurdish rebel group to be a terrorist organization in Turkey.

The photos showed American special operations forces advising Kurdish and Arab forces from the Syrian Democratic Forces near the village of Fatisah about 30 miles north of ISIS's de facto capital of Raqqah. The service members could be seen sporting what appeared to be insignia from the Kurdish People's Defense Forces, known by the initials YPG in Kurdish.

“Wearing those YPG patches was unauthorized and it was inappropriate and corrective action has been taken, and we have communicated as much to our military partners and our military allies in the region,” said Col. Steve Warren, the U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad.

Warren said the teams in Syria had been ordered to remove the patches from their uniforms. He said he was unaware of any official disciplinary action resulting from the incident. “The bottom line and the important thing is that the situation has been corrected and that we have communicated to our allies that such conduct was inappropriate and it was unauthorized," he said.

According to Warren, what made the wearing of the patches inappropriate were the “political sensitivities around the organization that that patch represents.” And those sensitivities are "with a NATO ally," said Warren, who did not specifically refer to Turkey.

Earlier Friday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu criticized the wearing of the YPG patches by American troops as "unacceptable" given his government's belief that the group is part of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), which Turkey considers to be a terrorist group. Cooperation with Syrian Kurdish rebel groups to fight ISIS has been tricky for the United States which must balance the military advantage of the ground force they provide with concerns from Turkey, a fellow ally in the fight against ISIS, that sees those same groups as harmful to Turkish interests.

"In that case, we would recommend they use the patches of Daesh, al-Nusra and al-Qaeda when they go to other parts of Syria and of Boko Haram when they go to Africa," Cavusoglu said.

Warren acknowledged that the special operations teams sporting the patches were likely building on past practice of bonding with the local force they were working, much as has happened in Iraq, Afghanistan and other parts of the world. "We have to understand the guys on ground are going to do what they going to do, and they have their customs and courtesies they’ve been following for years," Warren said. "But it’s also important to understand the larger strategic context, which I think that the inappropriateness of it, that they didn’t understand that or appreciate it as they should have.”

He said that had been recognized, corrected and communicated “to our allies that we felt the patches were inappropriate because they are unauthorized, plain and simple, they’re not authorized and we’ve made the correction so everyone is moving on.”

Warren said the primary role of the 200 or so advisers in Syria is to work with the Syrian Arab forces pressuring Raqqah under the umbrella group known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, which is primarily Kurdish. They are there to advise and assist those forces with command, logistical and air support needs, as far as he knows no U.S. forces have engaged in combat firefights.

Earlier this week, the Syrian Democratic Forces announced a ground offensive intended to take areas north of Raqqah. Since the American military advisers may visit some of these forces they may be near what are "fluid" front lines. At times that could mean some of the American forces could come as close as 15 to 20 miles away from Raqqah.

But Warren stressed that American forces in Syria deliberately plan to stay away from "enemy contact" planning missions to “ensure that wherever it is they go, enemy contact is not likely or in fact is unlikely. So I think that's number one.”

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Courtesy Anne Austin, Stanford University (CAIRO) -- Researchers at Stanford University have found intricately designed body art on the well-preserved remains of a 3,000-year-old woman's body from Ancient Egypt.

The human remains were from Deir el-Medina, the village of artisans who built the tombs of the pharaoh during Egypt's New Kingdom (1550 to 1070 B.C.E.), Anne Austin, an archaeologist at Stanford University, told ABC News.

"Though the site was excavated nearly a century ago, the human remains were never studied. In 2014, I identified the mummy of a woman covered in tattoos; however, it wasn't until this year when we did infrared photography and we were able to identify all of the tattoos on her shoulders, neck, arms, and back."

The woman, who Austin said lived in the Ramesside period, more than 3,000 years ago, is covered with tattoos that Austin said have religious meanings.

"The tattoos include important religious imagery like the cows of the goddess Hathor and Wadjet eyes -- a divine protective eye in ancient Egypt. The placement in the religious iconography of the tattoos suggests that they had a deeply symbolic religious purpose."

Courtesy Anne Austin, Stanford University

This woman is one of three tattooed mummies buried in Egyptian cemeteries, Austin said, although it is likely that more have yet to be discovered. The tattoo artistry for this one is unique, however, as it is the first to have Egyptian figures while the others had geometric tattoos.

Austin told ABC News it is not know what tools or ink Ancient Egyptian tattoo artists used.

The tattoos may also indicate the advanced roles of women in Ancient Egypt. "This mummy not only documents an Egyptian tradition of tattooing that we have not yet seen before, but the religious symbolism of the tattoos reveal important ways that women could participate in religion in this time period in ancient Egypt."

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KIMIMASA MAYAMA/AFP/Getty Images(HIROSHIMA, Japan) — President Barack Obama, the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima, Japan, met several survivors of the 1945 atomic bombing during his trip to the nation.

The president laid a wreath at the cenotaph in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and said he visited the historic site to mourn those killed in the bombing. After his remarks he visited with survivors in the audience. He embraced a man named Shigeaki Mori, who created a memorial for American WWII POWs killed at Hiroshima.

Obama said the world must change its mindset about war and focus on diplomacy, signing the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum's guest book with the comment: "We have known the agony of war. Let us now find the courage, together, to spread peace, and pursue a world without nuclear weapons."

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KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images(TOKYO) — Hundreds of passengers onboard a Korean Air flight at Tokyo's Haneda Airport were forced to evacuate onto the tarmac Friday after one of the Boeing 777-300's engines caught fire, the airline said.

Flight KE2708 was taxiing for take-off to Seoul, South Korea, when flames were detected from engine No.1. The take-off was immediately canceled, Korean Air said.

Once the take-off was cancelled all passengers were immediately deployed using emergency chutes, the company added.

Korean Air said there were 302 passengers and 16 crew members, excluding pilots, on the plane.

Japanese media showed live images of at least two fire trucks on scene as crews used white foam to put out the fire as smoke came out the back of the engine.

Crowds were also seen gathered on a grassy area next to the runway.

Despite passengers making if off the plane safely, 30 people were being treated for "feeling sick" and "shaken up," Japanese media reported.

Korea Air said they would reroute its passengers on another flight.

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ESA/NASA(WASHINGTON) — If Martians exist, they'll be closer to Earth on Memorial Day than they have been in 11 years.

This Monday, around 5:34 p.m. EDT, when many Americans may be enjoying a holiday barbecue, the Red Planet will be the closest it has been to Earth in more than a decade, coming within 46.8 million miles, according to NASA. The relatively close encounter with Earth comes a week after the Martian opposition, when Mars and the sun lined up on exact opposite sides of the Earth.

Every two years, Earth catches up to Mars’ orbit and aligns with the planet and the sun in a straight line. While Earth takes 365 days to orbit the sun, Mars takes 687 Earth days. As a result, the opposition occurs about every 26 months.

The close approach, however, varies between 35 million and 63 million miles, according to NASA, since Mars is on an elliptical orbit around the sun. Mars will be even closer in 2018, coming within 35.8 million miles of Earth, according to NASA.

While Mars will be closer than it has been in a long time, viewing details of the Red Planet may require a powerful telescope. For those wanting to check out Mars' close approach, online observatory Slooh will host a live look at the Red Planet beginning at 9 p.m. EDT.

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Zzvet/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Harold Earls was standing on the world’s tallest peak amid a roaring snowstorm when his Nepali Sherpa guide plunged off a 7,000-foot drop.

The pair had just reached the summit of Mount Everest and started their descent early Tuesday when clouds rolled in and 65 mph winds carrying ice and snow slammed into them. The Sherpa, An Doja, had developed snow blindness from sharing his goggles with Earls, who lost his own from a gust of wind. They were on a narrow ledge trying to hold on to each other when Doja stumbled.

“I thought he was going to die,” Earls, 23, based in Fort Stewart, Ga., told ABC News Wednesday.

But the safety rope caught on a snow ridge that had accumulated along the overhang, leaving the Sherpa teetering off the edge.

That’s when Earls’ military training kicked in, he said. The active-duty basic infantry officer immediately dropped to his knee to grip the rope that held them both. He was then able to swing Doja to safety onto a lower ledge about 10 feet below.

“That’s what we learn in the military,” Earls said. “You don’t ever leave a soldier behind. It’s the same thing with Sherpa.”

After hours of treacherous hiking, Earls and Doja made it safely down to the foot of the Lhoste wall of the Everest massif, where Advanced Base Camp straddles the Nepal-Tibet border at 21,000 feet. Earls suffered frostbite on his toes, which were also bloody from the difficult trek down.

He also couldn’t quite shake the haunting sight of dead bodies scattered several thousands of feet below him when climbing the Second Step, the most infamous of three rocky steps -- steep sections of rock and ice -- of Everest. One body had left what looked like a pattern of snow angels when it tumbled down the northeast ridge.

“It left a really eerie feeling in my mind,” he said. “I saw that and I mean, honestly, I was scared.”

Since the 2016 climbing season began last month, three people have died and two others are missing after attempting to scale the 29,035-foot-high mountain. Rescue teams said there have been repeated calls of climbers suffering from altitude sickness, frostbite, falls and injuries.

"The most common cause for death on Everest is the altitude. There's not enough oxygen there," said Dan Stretch, a senior specialist in the operations department at Global Rescue, which has evacuated about 30 people this season so far. "The weather can change very quickly. It can be fine one minute and then force winds and heavy snow the next minute."

Everest was practically free of climbers the two previous years, after fatal avalanches that canceled expeditions. More than 4,000 climbers have reached the treacherous summit since 1953, when Everest was first scaled by New Zealand explorer Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay.

Earls climbed with Capt. Elyse Ping Medvigy, retired Staff Sgt. Chad Jukes, 32, of Ridgeway, Colo., as well as drone pilot and award-winning filmmaker Dave Ohlson for nonprofit organization U.S. Expeditions and Explorations (USX) to spread awareness on the everyday struggle of veterans experiencing post-traumatic stress and suicidal thoughts. Earls, the co-founder and president of USX, said the team and their Sherpas formed a special bond.

Earls said he felt particularly inspired by Jukes, a single leg amputee because of an IED in northern Iraq, and how the veteran appeared to climb Everest with ease.

“He’s probably the best climber out of all of us,” Earls said. “I just remember seeing him in front of me and, you know, I’m sucking wind and struggling real bad. But then I look up and see Chad with one leg and how much harder he has to work to get to the top than me or anyone else.”

The team, which climbed with supplemental oxygen, was eventually forced to split up with their respective Sherpas due to weather conditions. Earls and Ping Medvigy summited together, but she and her Sherpa were a few minutes ahead of the rest on the way down.

Ping Medvigy, 26, of Sebastopol, Calif., an active-duty field artillery officer stationed at Fort Carson, Colo. who enjoys high-altitude climbing, said the weather was best during the trek up. In addition to shedding light on PTSD within the armed forces, Ping Medvigy carried with her a photograph of two soldiers who died because of an IED while serving in her light infantry unit in Afghanistan. She had told their families she would take that photo to the top of the world in their honor.

“That was the whole point of the trip for me was to bring that picture for their families to the summit,” Ping Medvigy told ABC News. “I climb because I love it. And on this particular expedition, I had the opportunity to climb for something more than myself.”

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Garry_Mirosh/iStock/Thinkstock(HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam) -- It was the last question President Obama was going take before concluding his historic three-day visit to America’s one-time foe, Vietnam.

The president was addressing convention hall full of Ho Chi Minh City’s most promising young leaders and was probably not expecting to beatbox in front of the crowd.

Suboi, 26, dubbed by some as Vietnam’s "Queen of Rap,” had not heard the president address a subject close to her heart: the role art and culture plays in the development of a nation.

As her hand shot up, it caught the president’s eye.

“I’m a rapper here from Saigon, Vietnam,” she said, and before long she was spitting verse to the president and the world.

“I might have looked very calm but I wasn’t,” Suboi told ABC News' Bob Woodruff shortly after her session with the president.

ABC News met up Suboi at the Saigon Saigon Bar at the legendary Caravelle Hotel, which used to house ABC News' Vietnam War-era bureau.

Suboi, whose real name is Hàng Lâm Trang Anh, opened up about being a rapper and part of the new Vietnam generation. Nearly 70 percent of the population in Vietnam was born after 1975, the end of the war.

“I want to raise the awareness of the Vietnamese artists and people,” Suboi said. “I feel there is wall between what Vietnamese people and people on the outside. They really have no idea what Vietnamese people are like, especially this young generation.”

Throughout his visit to Vietnam, Obama has been speaking out the importance the freedom of expression in order to keep a country innovating, especially in a country like Vietnam, where the Communist government frequently silences its critics.

Obama responded, “Imagine if at the time that rap was starting off that the government had said, 'No, because some of the things you say are offensive' or 'some of the lyrics are rude' or 'you’re cursing too much.'"

“That connection that we've seen now in hip-hop culture around the world wouldn’t exist. So, you’ve got to let people express themselves," Obama said.

“He is so down to earth,” Suboi said of Obama. ”You can see the most powerful man there ... and let the young generation ask him questions and he answers himself. We don’t usually see this in Vietnam.”

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Shawn Bergman(VANCOUVER) -- Tampering with crime scene evidence is a serious offense, but this culprit isn't fazed by his latest escapade.

We're talking about Canuck the Crow, a Canadian bird known for his frequent run-ins with police and long wrap sheet, which includes stealing knives and keys and dismantling police patrol car equipment.

"Canuck the Crow did pick up a knife at the scene of a shooting on Tuesday and began to fly away before it was chased by officers, flew about 20 or 30 feet and dropped it," the Vancouver Police Department confirmed to ABC in a statement Thursday.

Police say the knife was eventually retrieved and entered into evidence.

As for Canuck, who is easily identified by the tiny orange ankle bracelet around his left leg, police do not plan on charging him for tampering with evidence and evading law enforcement, but they want to warn him not to push his luck.

"It is not the first time the VPD has had an encounter with this same crow," the VPD statement pointed out.

The now-famous black bird as a huge Facebook fan base -- over 13,000 followers and counting.

"For some reason he loves living a double life. He's got a life with crows and a life with humans," Shawn Bergman, who calls himself Canuck's best friend, told ABC News.

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Official White House photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama will travel to Hiroshima Friday, becoming the first American president to visit the city where the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb during World War II.

The fact that an American president is visiting Hiroshima showcases the remarkable change in the United States' relationship with Japan, once considered an enemy of the U.S.

"The dropping of the atomic bomb, the ushering in of nuclear weapons was an inflection point in modern history," the president said Thursday. "It is something that all of us have had to deal with in one way or another."

He added: "The backdrop of a nuclear event remains something that, I think, presses on the back of our imaginations."

Obama, who will be accompanied by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, will lay a wreath at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial before making a statement reflecting on his visit.

The highly emotional visit will cap off the president’s five-day trip to Vietnam and Japan.

Obama has said he won’t apologize for President Harry Truman’s decision to launch the world’s first nuclear attack, but he will use the visit as an opportunity to make his case for ridding the world of nuclear weapons.

Earlier in the day, he will stop at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni to thank troops. After his stop in Hiroshima, the president returns to the U.S.

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Italian Navy(LONDON) -- Dozens of migrants lost their lives Thursday in the third deadly shipwreck in the Mediterranean in as many days, Italian authorities have reported to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

More than 500 people are believed to have been rescued Thursday after the ship sank off the Libyan coast, an IOM spokesman told ABC News, saying overcrowding may have caused the sinking.

“It was a big boat with 500-something people,” IOM spokesman Joel Millman said. “Maybe they put too many people in there. We will know why it sank after we talk to survivors.”

Italian authorities told the intergovernmental organization that 30 people died, Millman added. Most of the migrants on the boat, which was traveling from Libya to Europe, are believed to be Moroccan, he said.

Another boat carrying hundreds sank in the Mediterranean Sea Wednesday, killing at least five, while around 562 people were saved.

In an interview with the BBC, the Italian captain, Francesco Iavazzo, said, "...I tried to keep the people calm, shouting to them: Please sit down, do not stand, do not move because the boat isn't stable. But fear is fear so the people were not listening basically."

At least 9,000 migrants have died in the Mediterranean since 2013, according to the IOM.

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Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images(ISE, Japan) — President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited one of Japan's holiest sites Thursday, just a day after their awkward joint-press conference.

The president and prime minister strolled through the Ise-Jingu Shrine before meeting with other G7 leaders. The world leaders used shovels to plant trees on the grounds of the holy site.

It was a stark contrast to the icy reception President Obama received when he landed in Japan Wednesday.

Abe publicly lectured the president over the murder of a 20-year-old Japanese woman in Okinawa allegedly at the hands of a former U.S. Marine.

The president spent the rest of his days in meetings at the G7 summit, where leaders were expected to speak about terrorism, maritime security, and the global economy.

On Friday, Obama will travel to Hiroshima, becoming the first American president to visit the site where the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb during World War II.

"Our visit to Hiroshima will honor all of those who were lost in World War II and reaffirm our shared vision of a world without nuclear weapons, as well as highlight the extraordinary alliance that we have been able to forge over these many decades," the president said Wednesday.

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Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images(LONDON) -- Two new photographs of Prince William and Kate taken in mid-March in the gardens of Kensington Palace are now being seen for the first time.

The photos were commissioned privately by William, 33, and Kate, 34, and shot by Chris Jelf, the same photographer who captured the royal couple with their two children, Prince George and Princes Charlotte, for their 2015 Christmas message.

The newly-revealed photos of William and Kate were used to accompany thank you notes sent to well-wishers who sent the royal couple congratulations for their fifth wedding anniversary, which they celebrated on April 29.

The inscription inside the note reads, "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were so touched that you took the trouble to write as you did on the occasion of their 5th Wedding Anniversary. It really was most thoughtful of you and Their Royal Highnesses send you their warmest thanks and best wishes."

A second photograph from the same set of photos taken by Jelf is a solo shot of the duchess. That photograph accompanied a letter of support from Kate to the International Children’s Palliative Care Network.

In her message, Duchess Kate wrote, “When families are confronted with the shattering news that their child has a life-limited condition, their world can fall apart. For those facing this awful reality access to hospice and palliative care services can transform their quality of life and help families make the most of the time they have together. I would like to thank the International Children’s Palliative Care Network membership for being the global advocate for children needing palliative care, and working to ensure that children and families across the world have a chance of accessing this vital lifeline."

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NASA TV(HOUSTON) — NASA's plan to inflate an expandable habitat for the first time in space hit a snag today when the room -- known as BEAM -- failed to completely inflate.

Thursday's test at the International Space Station has been postponed after NASA spent several hours attempting to pump air into BEAM, which is short for Bigelow Expandable Activity Module.

"Engineers are meeting at the Johnson Space Center in Houston to discuss a path forward for the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module," according to a NASA update. "They are evaluating data from the expansion that has occurred thus far. If the data supports a resumption of operations, another attempt to complete the module's expansion could come as early tomorrow."

BEAM is a first-of-its-kind inflatable habitat that was carried to the ISS on the SpaceX Dragon. Ahead of Thursday's inflation attempt, astronauts attached the room to the station's Tranquility module. BEAM has the capacity to inflate to roughly 10 feet in diameter and 13 feet in length, a NASA blog post explained.

The module is a key piece of technology that could be used on a future crewed mission to Mars.

"When we’re traveling to Mars or beyond, astronauts need habitats that are both durable and easy to transport and to set up. That’s where expandable technology comes in," a NASA blog post explained. The idea was first conceptualized by NASA in the 1990s and was built by Bigelow Aerospace.

If the BEAM module at the International Space Station is able to be properly inflated, astronauts will soon be able to step inside for several hours at a time to collect data and assess conditions inside the room. The experiment is scheduled to last for two years.

During that time, NASA plans to keep the airlock between BEAM and the space station closed.

Sensors inside BEAM monitor temperature and radiation changes, along with how it fares against potential orbital debris. If punctured, BEAM is designed to slowly deflate, ensuring that it doesn't pose a danger to the space station.

One final key part of BEAM: It's designed so astronauts should be able to easily pack it up when they're finished.

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