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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.

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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.

Many Americans watched in shock as the Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrated over the Florida sky 30 years ago.

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, D-FL, was one of the viewers who had tuned in to the national broadcast. Then a U.S. representative, Nelson arrived back to earth only 10 days earlier after a six-day mission in space. 

It would be the final successful mission to space before the Challenger disaster.

SpaceX Sticks The Landing

Dec 22, 2015
SpaceX

SpaceX successfully launched and landed  a Falcon 9 rocket. It’s a historic event for the private space company.

About ten minutes after liftoff Monday night, a Falcon 9 rocket was safely back at Cape Canaveral.

It’s the first time the private space company SpaceX successfully recovered a spent rocket. Previous attempts to land the first stage on a barge were close – but ended in failure.

Need more office space? How about outer space?

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

It was a routine launch for the Atlas V booster, which was carrying a Mexican satellite into orbit as it lifted off from Florida's Cape Canaveral on Friday morning. But the rocket's expanding exhaust plume was anything but ordinary.

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.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has announced he’s bringing his rocket company Blue Origin to Cape Canaveral, Florida, near NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. It will not only launch rockets there, but the private space company plans to manufacture them nearby. Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti speaks with Pat Duggins of Alabama Public Radio.

NASA photo

The state’s aerospace authority is pressing ahead with plans for a commercial spaceport inside the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge at a site called Shiloh.

Space Florida is undeterred by Sen. Bill Nelson’s recent comments that the Shiloh spaceport won’t happen.

Frank DiBello, president and chief executive officer of Space Florida, says space companies are calling for a commercial spaceport free of government bureaucracy.

He says the Central Florida Democrat’s comments don’t complicate the agency’s position.

AP Photo

NASA is offering up wreckage from the Challenger and Columbia for public view after hiding it from the world for decades.

A new exhibit at Kennedy Space Center features two pieces of debris, one from each lost shuttle, as well as poignant, personal reminders of the 14 astronauts killed in flight.

It is an unprecedented collection of artifacts – the first time, in fact, that any Challenger or Columbia remains have been openly displayed.

Wikipedia

The Twitterverse is blowing up with claims that Florida has a "flesh-eating" bacteria but state health officials are trying to tamp down what they say is wrong information.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

The University of South Florida announced late Friday afternoon that the USF Forensic Anthropology Laboratory will find an alternate location to train students and law enforcement to process human remains in outdoor crime scenes.

The Facility for Outdoor Experimental Research and Training (FORT) program was proposed on Hillsborough County Sheriffs property in Lithia, but an outcry from residents about possible smells, groundwater contamination and property values prompted a change in plans.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

USF's Forensic Anthropology Laboratory is best known for its work at the Dozier School for Boys. Now, they're asking for approval to use a parcel of land in Lithia as a training ground for identifying real bodies in different stages of decomposition. 

Currently, students are using plastic skeletons to train on. USF Anthropology professor Erin Kimmerle, however, said that real bones aren't pure white like fake ones are. 

Updated at 4:50 p.m. ET.

SpaceX has delayed the launch of its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft by a day, after fast-approaching storm clouds moved into Cape Canaveral, Fla., according to the AP. In a tweet, SpaceX said the next opportunity for a launch will be Tuesday at 4:10 p.m. EDT.

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Taisha Henry

NASA says it’s on schedule to fly astronauts to the International Space Station on private spacecraft beginning in 2017.

It will cost about $58 million a seat to get to low earth orbit.

It was NASA’s first update on its Commercial Crew Program since a legal complaint about the bidding process was resolved earlier this month.

NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden says if the space agency is going to focus on Mars, it must rely on private companies to take astronauts to the space station.

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