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Each weekday morning, OurAmazingPlanet takes the pulse of the Earth, reporting on natural phenomena and exploration news from around the globe.

Update: Endeavour launched successfully for the last time and is en route to orbit. Complete coverage here.

Shuttle Launch Forecast: The weather seems to be cooperating with Endeavour's planned launch today (launch time 8:56 a.m. ET), with just a few clouds near the launch pad. Follow the action on NASA TV and on our sister site, SPACE.com.

Flooding Sacrifice: Federal engineers opened more floodgates in the Morganza Floodway on Sunday, potentially flooding homes and farms in order to spare larger cities. See video of the floodgates opening. [Related: What Is to Blame for the Mississippi River Floods? ]

Butterfly Rebound: After decades of decline, some of Britain's most threatened butterflies are fluttering back to health. [Related: Extreme Weather Strikes Blow to Monarch Butterflies ]

Quake Drill: The Midwest can look forward to a huge earthquake in the future along the New Madrid fault. States are testing their preparedness today in a massive national disaster drill. [Related: Earthquake Drill in Midwest: Prudent of Silly? ]

Previously on Our Daily Planet: Shark Fin Ban and Birding World Series

Reach OurAmazingPlanet staff writer Brett Israel at bisrael@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @btisrael.