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Mars

Aquarius Program at FIU / USF Research & Innovation

Sixty feet beneath the water’s surface in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary sits one of the world’s three undersea research laboratories.

And as you read this, the Aquarius Reef Base is home to an international crew of researchers, including Dominic D’Agostino, an associate professor in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of South Florida Health Morsani College of Medicine.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

(Originally aired Sept. 27, 2016)

Few states have as close a tie to the U.S. space program than Florida, so it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that there’s a growing number of would-be rocket scientists at the University of South Florida.

Need more office space? How about outer space?

NASA opened its astronaut-application website Monday. It’s accepting applications through Feb. 18.

Scientists have caught Mars crying salty tears.

Photos from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show dark streaks flowing down Martian slopes. The streaks appear in sunny spots or when the weather is warm, and they fade when the temperature drops.

Signs of water currents and sediments are seen in the latest photos NASA's Curiosity rover sent home from Mars, the space agency said Monday. The images suggest "ancient Mars maintained a climate that could have produced long-lasting lakes," NASA says.

In the huge Gale Crater where Curiosity has been exploring, the water and sediment flow might have been massive enough to build a mountain — the 3-mile-high Mount Sharp — NASA researchers say. But they acknowledge that they're still working to solve the mystery of how the mountain formed in a crater.

NASA's MAVEN spacecraft conducted a 33-minute burn of its six main engines to ease into an orbit around Mars after a nearly yearlong, 442 million-mile voyage from Earth. The probe's mission is to study the red planet's atmosphere.

This month, NASA revealed new details of the plan to send humans to Mars by 2030. It's an elaborate and expensive mission, involving a giant deep-space rocket, and roping an asteroid into the moon's orbit to use as a stepping stone to Mars.

But there are still some serious questions about a manned expedition to Mars. Namely, is it safe? That's where astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly come in. The Kelly brothers are identical twins, and the only siblings ever to both fly in space.

NASA's Ambitious Plan To Send Humans To Mars

Apr 21, 2014

The nation’s space agency is gearing up to put humans on Mars within the next two decades. NASA is testing a supersonic lander that can carry heavy loads, and just signed a 20-year lease on a launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center.

Mike Gazarik is associate administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate and he tells Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson that going to Mars is part of Americans’ pioneering spirit, and will also have benefits for life on Earth.