DENVER -- Scott Carpenter conquered the heights of space, the depths of the ocean, and the darkness of fear. And in doing so he became the second American to orbit the Earth, powered by not just a rocket but an insatiable curiosity.
"Conquering of fear is one of life's greatest pleasures and it can be done a lot of different places," he said.
His wife, Patty Barrett, said Carpenter died Thursday in a Denver hospice of complications from a September stroke. Carpenter, who lived in Vail, Colo., was 88.
Carpenter followed John Glenn into orbit, and it was Carpenter who gave him the historic sendoff, "Godspeed John Glenn."
The two were the last survivors of the famed original Mercury 7 astronauts from the "Right Stuff" days of the early 1960s. Glenn is the only one left alive.
In his only flight, Carpenter missed his landing by 288 miles, leaving a nation on edge for an hour as it watched live and putting Carpenter on the outs with his NASA bosses. So Carpenter found a new place to explore: the ocean floor.
He was the only person who was both an astronaut and an aquanaut, exploring the old ocean and what President John F. Kennedy called "the new ocean" -- space.
NASA administrator Charles Bolden said Thursday that Carpenter "was in the vanguard of our space program -- the pioneers who set the tone for our nation's pioneering efforts beyond Earth and accomplished so much for our nation. ... We will miss his passion, his talent and his lifelong commitment to exploration."
Life was an adventure for Carpenter and he said it should be for others: "Every child has got to seek his own destiny. All I can say is that I have had a great time seeking my own."
Ky. pastor charged in slayings: Kenneth Allen Keith, a small-town pastor charged in a triple slaying at a Kentucky pawn shop, had attended the funeral of two of the victims, offering condolences to relatives who say they're now sickened by the arrest of the man who seemed to be a sympathetic mourner. Keith, pastor of Main Street Baptist Church in the south-central Kentucky town of Burnside, was arrested Wednesday. Authorities said Keith has been charged with three counts of murder and one count of robbery following the Sept. 20 triple slaying in Danville, a small college town. Keith had gone days after the shooting to the funeral of Michael Hockensmith, 35, and his wife Angela, 38. Daniel P. Smith, 60, also had died in the shootings.
Halted when gun falls on floor: A hearing for a Pennsylvania police chief who made profanity-laced Internet videos about liberals and the Second Amendment was halted suddenly Thursday night after a handgun belonging to one of his supporters slid out of its holster and crashed onto the concrete floor. The loaded semi-automatic handgun landed inches away from Gilberton Chief Mark Kessler and his attorney. It did not go off, but attorney Joseph Nahas said that he and other officials were concerned about the safety of everyone in the tiny, crowded meeting room at borough hall. Nahas said the hearing will be continued at a nearby courthouse, where weapons are prohibited, at a later date.
To stay open through Oct. 17: The nation's federal courts, including the Supreme Court, have enough money to stay open at least through Oct. 17 if there is no resolution to the budget stalemate in Washington. The Supreme Court announced Thursday it would stay open through Friday, Oct. 18, including hearing two days of arguments next week. Lawyers involved in those cases had already said they expected them to go on. The high court also said it expected "normal operations" to continue, which includes allowing tourists into the building before and after arguments.