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Starting next month, NASA will begin delivering its four Space Shuttle orbiters to their final destinations. After an extensive decommissioning process, the fleet -- which includes three former working spacecraft and one test orbiter -- is nearly ready for public display. On April 17, the shuttle Discovery will be attached to a modified 747 Jumbo Jet for transport to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Virginia. Endeavour will go to Los Angeles in mid-September, and in early 2013, Atlantis will take its place on permanent display at Florida's Kennedy Space Center. Test orbiter Enterprise will fly to New York City next month. Gathered here are images of NASA's final days spent processing the Space Shuttle fleet. [35 photos]

In Orbiter Processing Facility-2 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the flight deck of space shuttle Atlantis is illuminated one last time during preparations to power down Atlantis during Space Shuttle Program transition and retirement activities, on December 22, 2011. Atlantis is being prepared for public display in 2013 at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. (NASA/Jim Grossmann)

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PRAYING FOR A GAIN? A Roman Catholic priest led a Mass before the start of the last trading day of the year at the Philippine Stock Exchange in Makati City, east of Manila, Thursday. (Rolex Dela Pena/European Pressphoto Agency)

NO, NO, NO NO, NO, NO: An elephant calf named Uli struggled against a zookeeper who wanted to weigh him, at the zoo in Wuppertal, Germany, Thursday. Some 5,000 animals were counted, measured and weighed as part of a broad inventory. (Marius Becker/European Pressphoto Agency)

DEADLY DEADLY: Locals stood near the bodies of the victims of an airstrike in southeastern Turkey’s Sirnak Province Thursday. Some 35 people were killed late Wednesday in what Kurdish politicians say was a Turkish strike against civilians it mistook for members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party. (Ihlas News Agency/European Pressphoto Agency)

MOB SCENE MOB SCENE: Travelers lined up Wednesday to buy train tickets in Changsha, China, as the country’s railway stations began to sell tickets for travel during the country’s 2012 Spring Festival, which starts Jan. 8. (ChinaFotoPress/Zuma Press)

ICED ICED: Jason LaBarbera, goalie for the Phoenix Coyotes, let the game-winning goal slip through his legs during overtime in the team’s game against the Boston Bruins Wednesday in Glendale, Ariz. The Bruins won, 2-1. (Keith Charles/Southcreek/Zuma Press)

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The best photos of 2011 from around the globe. Warning: All images in this entry are shown in full, not screened out for graphic content. Some images contain dead bodies, graphic content and tragic events. We consider these images an important part of human history.

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All it takes are two groups of people, one to gather and one to march past them. Parades took place across the globe these past two months for a variety of celebrations, from shows of military power, to tributes to organized labor, to pride for one’s country or culture. -- Lloyd Young (37 photos total)
Performers dance in the street parade at the annual Notting Hill Carnival in central London Aug. 29.. Revelers flocked to west London for one of Europe's biggest street parties, with record numbers of police on duty to prevent a repetition of riots that shook the British capital three weeks ago. Notting Hill Carnival, an annual celebration of Caribbean culture that usually draws about 1 million people for a colorful procession of musicians and performers. (Olivia Harris/Reuters)

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Last Wednesday, June 15, thousands of Vancouver Canucks hockey fans gathered in their city's Rogers Arena to watch the final game of the Stanley Cup playoffs against the Boston Bruins. After the Canucks lost and the crowds poured out into the streets, some fans began rioting, smashing storefront windows, looting, and overturning cars. The following day, many volunteers gathered in downtown Vancouver to help clean up and repair the damage. They wrote thousands of emotional messages on the plywood covering storefronts, sidewalks, and police vehicles -- messages expressing anger at the rioters, pride in the city, and gratitude toward police and emergency workers. The spontaneous display of sentiment on these sheets of plywood appears to be important enough to the history of the city that the Museum of Vancouver will be saving them once they come down. (Also, be sure to read about The Last Time Canadians Rioted After the Stanley Cup Finals) [24 photos]

A Vancouver Canucks fan videotapes the chaos around an overturned burning pickup truck in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, during rioting after the Canucks lost Game 7, the final and deciding game of the Stanley Cup playoffs to the Boston Bruins on June 15, 2011. (Reuters/Anthony Bolante)

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