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A Canadian duo and their Kickstarter-funded, pedal-powered helicopter have won one of the longest-standing challenges in the history of aviation — keeping a human-powered aircraft hovering up in the air at height of at least 9.8 feet, within a 32.8 by 32.8-foot square, for 60 seconds minimum. The challenge, known as the Sikorsky prize, has withstood at numerous failed attempts since it was established in 1980, 33 years ago, even with a $250,000 bounty. But it was finally bested earlier in June by the Atlas, a gigantic human-powered helicopter designed by Cameron Robertson and Todd Reichert, aeronautical engineers from the University of Toronto, who cofounded a company AeroVelo.

The pair funded the construction of their winning aircraft through a successful Kickstarter campaign last year, and just barely managed to beat a rival team from the University of Maryland, whose craft Gamera failed to stay within the square-foot range required by the prize, as Popular Mechanics reports.

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ALMOST…THERE
ALMOST…THERE: Australia’s Georgia Nanscawen, in yellow, and American Rachel Dawson reached for the ball during the Four Nations tournament at the North Harbor Hockey Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand, Thursday. (Phil Walter/Getty Images)

RESPECTING THEIR ELDERS
RESPECTING THEIR ELDERS: Holy men stepped over children during a ritual to bless them amid a procession to mark the Gajan Hindu festival in Kolkata Thursday. (Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters)

POWER-WASHED
POWER-WASHED: A municipal worker washed a statue of Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, in Moscow’s Gagarin Square Wednesday. Russia celebrated Aviation and Cosmonautics Day Thursday. (Andrey Smirnov/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

TEMPLE TIME
TEMPLE TIME: A man took a dip in the waters of the Sikh Shrine Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, Thursday. (Narinder Nanu/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

ROLE PLAYING
ROLE PLAYING: A man wore an astronaut costume as he celebrated Aviation and Cosmonautics Day in Moscow Thursday. (Mikhail Metzel/Associated Press)

A BLIND BOY
A BLIND BOY: A blind Palestinian student used the Braille system to read during an English lesson at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency-run al-Nour (Light) School for the Blind and Visually Impaired Children in Gaza City Thursday. (Mohammed Salem/Reuters)

DELAYED
DELAYED: A passenger looked out a bus window while police officer stood guard during a strike in Athens Thursday. A group of long-distance bus drivers on strike tried to block buses from leaving the main terminal in the capital. (John Kolesidis/Reuters)

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The frigid weather that plagued Eastern Europe much of last week spread westward over the weekend, grounding flights, snarling traffic, and causing hundreds of deaths. While the subzero temperatures and heavy snowfalls have brought hardship, residents of some areas were able to take advantage of the conditions for skating, sledding, kite surfing, and other winter pastimes. Meteorologists warn that more blizzards may be hitting the region, and state officials, shelters, and aid organizations are preparing to help even more people in need. Gathered here are images of frozen Europe from the past several days. [40 photos]

A boy sits in front of an ice covered car in Versoix, near Geneva, Switzerland, on February 5, 2012. Bitterly cold weather sweeping across Europe claimed more victims on Sunday and brought widespread disruption to transport services, with warnings that the chilling temperatures would remain into next week. (Reuters/Denis Balibouse)

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