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Starting this semester, the Colorado School of Mines is offering the world's first degree programs in Space Resources — essentially mining in outer space.

It's not just academic institutions like the School of Mines taking note; a small but growing number of startups expect this to be very big business sooner than a lot of us might think.

United Launch Alliance

A NASA spacecraft is on its way to the sun after launching from Cape Canaveral on a Delta IV Heavy Rocket. It will be the closest object to ever whiz by the sun and stands to become the fastest human made object, clocking in at around 480,000 miles per hour.

NASA Twitter

A last-minute technical problem Saturday delayed NASA's unprecedented flight to the sun.

The early morning launch countdown was halted with just one-minute, 55 seconds remaining, keeping the Delta IV rocket on its pad with the Parker Solar Probe.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lit up the sky around Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida early Tuesday with a successful launch, placing an Indonesian telecommunications satellite into orbit and demonstrating the reusability of the company's upgraded booster.

Updated at 7:37 a.m. ET Friday

Every two years or so, the sun, Earth and Mars line up — and that's what is happening now. It's a celestial orientation known as Mars opposition. Leaving aside any significance this might have for astrologers, from an astronomical point of view there's one thing you can say for sure about this Mars opposition: Mars will be brighter in the night sky than it's been for 15 years.

An Italian team of scientists says it has strong evidence of a subsurface lake of liquid water on Mars. It's a discovery that adds to the speculation that there could once have been life on Mars — and raises the possibility that it might be there still today, since liquid water is an essential ingredient for life.

Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin rocket company shot a capsule higher into space Wednesday than it's ever done before.

Have you ever wondered what the world actually looked like a billion years ago? A Capital City scientist has helped discover at least a partial answer to that question and that finding has made her an overnight media sensation worldwide.

A SpaceX rocket that flew just two months ago with a NASA satellite roared back into action Friday, launching the first orbiting robot with artificial intelligence and other station supplies.

Conor Goulding/Mote Marine Laboratory

An increase in whale shark sightings off the coast of Sarasota is helping Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium scientists learn more about them.

The U.S. government is stepping up efforts to protect the planet from incoming asteroids that could wipe out entire regions or even continents.

Scientists have uncovered a pit of human bones at a Civil War battlefield in Virginia. The remains are the amputated limbs of wounded Union soldiers.

It's the first "limb pit" from a Civil War battlefield to be excavated, and experts say it opens a new window on what is often overlooked in Civil War history: the aftermath of battle, the agony of survivors and the trials of early combat surgeons.

The voice of legendary physicist Stephen Hawking is to be broadcast into space after his memorial service on Friday, according to British media outlets.

Specifically, it will be directed toward the nearest black hole. Hawking, who died in March, revolutionized the scientific understanding of black holes — and won the hearts of people across the world with his tireless scientific advocacy.

Climate change could impact the strength of hurricanes in the Atlantic. That’s according to Senior NASA Scientist Timothy Hall, who spoke Wednesday during a webinar hosted by ReThink Energy Florida, an environmental advocacy group.

Wikimedia Commons

Six years after last landing on Mars, NASA is sending a robotic geologist to dig deeper than ever before to take the planet's temperature.

Wednesday was the day astronomers said goodbye to the old Milky Way they had known and loved and hello to a new view of our home galaxy.

A European Space Agency mission called Gaia just released a long-awaited treasure trove of data: precise measurements of 1.7 billion stars.

Taste of Science

So a scientist walks into a bar...and shares their knowledge over a beer.

Starting Monday, April 23, Tampa-area scientists will be at local breweries, sharing beer and conversation as part of the Taste of Science conference series.

YouTube

Bold predictions about the future will be on the mind of Michio Kaku when he speaks Sunday at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg. 

Brooke Owens Fellowship Program

As a child, Payton Barnwell was fascinated by race cars, but her passion for science came to her in high school with the support of her high school physics teacher.

“He really showed us the applications of the science we were learning,” Barnwell said. “So it wasn’t all theory. He would say, ‘We can do it with this, and we can do it with rockets.’”

Now, the Florida Polytechnic University mechanical engineering junior has been selected for one of the most prestigious aviation and space programs in the country, one specifically designed for women.

SpaceX via AP

SpaceX fired up its newest, biggest rocket in a critical launch pad test Wednesday, advancing toward a long-anticipated test flight possibly in just a week.

Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.

U.S. Navy Capt. Scott Kelly holds the American record for the longest consecutive time in space, after a 340-day mission to the International Space Station in 2015 and 2016.

Since returning to Earth, he's written a number of books about his experiences, including "Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery," and a children's book, "My Journey to the Stars."

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

The usual summer rainstorms held off for a day, so several thousand people crowding into Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry's parking lot for the once-in-a-generation solar eclipse didn't walk away empty-handed.

Courtesy of Romeo Durscher/NASA

It is indeed dark during the day as a total solar eclipse makes its way from Oregon to South Carolina. Eleven states are in the path of total darkness. Follow the astronomical phenomenon's journey across America along with NPR journalists and others experiencing the eclipse.

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Follow this live updating map tracking the position of the eclipse across the United States.

Courtesy of NASA

About two weeks from now on August 21, a lot of people will be looking up. They will be witnessing the first "coast to coast" solar eclipse visible in the United States in about 100 years.

You can use this interactive map from NASA to find exactly when to look for the effects of the eclipse in your part of the world. And if you need help converting UTC or (UT) time, check here.

Howard Hochhalter manages the Bishop Planetarium at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton. He says in Florida, we'll get about 83 to 85 percent of the eclipse.


MarchforScience.com

A different kind of event will be held Saturday nationwide to mark Earth Day. It's called the March for Science, and there will be several marches in the Tampa Bay area.

Could there be life under the icy surface of Saturn's moon Enceladus?

Scientists have found a promising sign.

NASA announced on Thursday that its Cassini spacecraft mission to Saturn has gathered new evidence that there's a chemical reaction taking place under the moon's icy surface that could provide conditions for life. They described their findings in the journal Science.

Legislation by Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, is moving from the Senate to the U.S.House. It requires backup jets to be available to gather hurricane atmospheric information.

The U.S. Senate has passed a bill that includes a bipartisan effort from Florida’s Senators to improve hurricane forecasts.

Yesterday, NASA announced that astronaut Scott Kelly will retire from the space agency as of April 1st. Kelly holds the U.S. record for the most time spent in space.

For nearly a full year, he zoomed along at 17,500 miles per hour — orbiting 230 miles above earth — on the International Space Station. And for those million or so of us who follow him on Twitter, Cmdr. Kelly's year in space gave us a mind-expanding view of planet Earth.

Kelly posted spectacular photos — awesome, in the true sense of the word. He called them, earth-art.

Dave Parkinson/Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

If you visit Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo, you'll be lucky to catch a glimpse of the elusive clouded leopard, which is housed in a foliage-rich enclosure near the entrance to the zoo. The Clouded leopard, Neofelis nebulosa is the shy type, native to Southeast Asia. But the zoo just welcomed two new clouded leopard cubs. And staff provided this closeup of the male and female cubs.

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