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SpaceX

A shipment of much-needed groceries and belated Christmas presents finally arrived Monday morning at the International Space Station.

The SpaceX company's supply ship, Dragon, pulled up at the orbiting lab two days after its liftoff. Station commander Butch Wilmore used a robot arm to grab the capsule and its 5,000 pounds of precious cargo, as the craft soared more than 260 miles above the Mediterranean.

AP Photo

SpaceX called off its planned flight to the International Space Station early Tuesday because of rocket trouble.

The unmanned Falcon rocket was supposed to blast off before sunrise. But the countdown was halted with just over a minute remaining. The soonest SpaceX can try again is Friday morning.

Officials said the problem was with the motors needed for second-stage rocket thrust steering. If controllers had not aborted the launch, computers would have done so closer to flight time, NASA launch commentator George Diller said.

2015 Spending Bill Includes $18 Billion for NASA

Dec 11, 2014

That's $364 million more than the space agency got for the current fiscal year -- which ends on Sept. 30 -- and some $500 million more than it requested. Most of that increase is due to lawmakers increasing funding for the Space Launch System and Orion multi-purpose crew vehicle designed to eventually take astronauts to Mars, a key congressional priority. The spending bill includes $3.25 billion for human exploration, up from the $2.78 billion the Obama administration had sought.

AP Photo/Gregory Bull

NASA's new Orion spacecraft returned to dry land in Southern California after a test flight that ended with a plunge into the Pacific Ocean.

Navy ship, the USS Anchorage, delivered the capsule to Naval Base San Diego and unloaded the 11-foot-tall cone around 10 p.m. PST Monday.

Orion made an unmanned flight Friday that carried it 3,600 miles above Earth to test the spacecraft's systems before it carries astronauts on deep space missions. During re-entry into the atmosphere, the spacecraft endured speeds of 20,000 mph and temperatures near 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Space Florida is Riding on Orion

Dec 4, 2014

Orion, NASA's deep-space exploration spacecraft, remained on the launch pad Thursday as a series of delays pushed its scheduled maiden flight to Friday.

But the vessel sitting atop the massive Delta 4 rocket is expected to one day push man to the Moon, asteroids and Mars, and Florida's aerospace leaders believe the state will remain at the forefront of those efforts.

Update at 9:35 a.m. ET

NASA's Orion spacecraft, which could one day send astronauts to Mars, is stuck on terra firma for at least another day after the space agency's mission control was unable to satisfactorily resolve a number of issues before a 9:45 a.m. ET launch window closed.

Radislav Sinyak NASA/Rad Sinyak

At 7:05 a.m. Thursday, the unmanned Orion test vehicle is scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station atop a Delta IV Heavy rocket to begin a two-orbit, four-and-a-half hour mission called Exploration Flight Test-1.

Even with all the drama — and now the prolonged silence, possibly permanent — the European Space Agency's (ESA) mission to land a fridge-sized probe on a comet zipping at about 80,000 miles per hour, some 300 million miles from Earth, was a resounding success. This first ever comet landing has captivated the world as very few events in the history — certainly the recent history — of space exploration have.

M. S. Butler

Plenty of kids play in dirt and collect bugs. Maybe you used to bring home bugs in a jar. Maybe you still do.  Deby Cassill does. But, she’s the Associate Professor of biology at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

So, she spends her days getting a microscopic look at something many of us consider a pest and even something to step on.

She says there was a time when it was considered strange for her to play with bugs.

Hundreds of millions of miles from Earth, a man-made object was flung at a comet Wednesday — and now it's sticking to the rock as it hurtles through space.

"We are on the comet," Stephan Ulamec, Philae Lander Manager, announced Wednesday, marking a historic achievement.

Report: KSC Must Do More to Succeed as Spaceport

Oct 24, 2014

KSC has leased about half of the 23 facilities it no longer needs after the shuttle program's 2011 retirement, including giving SpaceX control of launch pad 39A. But in interviews with the auditors, six companies and KSC's closest government partner, Space Florida, continued to raise concerns about bureaucracy, high costs and potential mission conflicts that can hamper commercial operations at KSC. The companies have not abandoned the spaceport given limited options available today, but "this may change as the commercial space industry grows and additional non-Federal launch sites become available," the report says.

Jae C. Hong / AP Photo

NASA is a giant step closer to launching Americans again from U.S. soil.

On Tuesday, the space agency announced it has picked Boeing and SpaceX to transport astronauts to the International Space Station in the next few years.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden named the winners of the competition at Kennedy Space Center, next door to where the launches should occur in a few years.

Orion Makes A Move

Sep 12, 2014
Rad Sinyak / NASA

NASA has finished building the crew module of its newest spacecraft- Orion.

The spacecraft was moved out of the Kennedy Space Center facility Thursday where engineers have been getting it ready.

Orion’s cone-shaped crew module, stacked on top of a white service module, emerged from the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building on a special flat bed transporter.

It was moved to a new facility where it will be fueled up with ammonia and hyper propellants for its test flight slated for December.

The crew capsule can seat four astronauts.

Taisha Henry / WMFE

Escalating unrest in the Ukraine is adding urgency to NASA’s decision on the space craft that will replace the shuttle.

The space agency is expected to announce any day the space craft that will fly astronauts to the International Space Station.

Two candidates – Boeing’s CST-100 and Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser – rely on the Atlas V rocket to launch into space. But the rocket is powered by the Russian-built RD-180 engine.

Dale Ketcham of Space Florida says the Atlas V rocket is vital to American space flight.

A New Space Race To Replace the Shuttle

Aug 15, 2014
Photo by Taisha Henry.

For the first time in a generation American astronauts will fly into space aboard a new spacecraft beginning in 2017.

But it won’t be a NASA spacecraft. Instead three private space companies are competing to design and build it under a NASA contract.

When NASA announces the winner or winners in a few weeks, it will mark the start of a new era in human space flight.

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Anticipation is building for the unmanned Orion flight in December. The new capsule, designed to carry astronauts into deep space again, will be sitting on top of a huge Delta IV heavy rocket. Lockheed Martin is building the capsule in the renovated Operations and Checkout Building at Kennedy. Florida threw $35 million at the project to make sure it was located here. The project employs about 150 people currently. The goal is to have a manned Orion launch in 2021. On my tour there last week, I saw the capsule under construction in the 1964 operations building, now named after Neil Armstrong and completely renovated. The Orion is the first capsule to be built at Kennedy. It the past, capsules were only inspected there after being manufactured elswhere.

It is Rocket Science: $100M for New NASA Rocket?

May 23, 2014

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-FL, linked the plan to heightened tension with Russia in a news release. “Mr. Putin’s Russia is giving us some problems,” said Nelson, a senior member of the committee. “So we put $100 million in the defense bill to develop a state-of-the-art rocket engine to make sure that we have assured access to space for our astronauts as well as our military space payloads.”

NASA's Administrator Charles Bolden says that Russia's plan to end cooperation on the International Space Station after 2020 will not have an impact on the success of the orbital platform.

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.

Earlier this week, physicists announced they'd seen evidence of ripples in the fabric of space and time from just moments after the Big Bang. Such ripples were predicted almost a century ago by Albert Einstein.

Einstein's theory of relativity is arguably the 20th century's greatest idea. But not everything he did was right: Some newly uncovered work from the brilliant physicist was wrong. Really, really wrong.

It's nighttime. You are hovering high off the planet looking down. Things are happening. Strange, beautiful, wonderful things.

The asteroid belt, a ring of rubble between Mars and Jupiter, has sometimes been written off as discarded leftovers from the solar system's start. But new research published in the journal Nature shows that the belt actually formed during an unruly later era, when planets themselves were on the move.

Robin Sussingham / WUSF

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam calls citrus greening "as bad a situation as it could possible be for Florida signature crop." That's why the state's citrus farmers have spent more than $60 million of their own money over the last seven years to save their crops. Lake Alfred, in Polk County, is headquarters for intense research efforts to cure citrus greening.

Visitors to the new Atlantis exhibit at the Kennedy Space Center walk into the building under a big orange external fuel tank like the one the shuttle rode into space.

The tank's a replica — but the shuttle inside is the real deal.

People who worked on the shuttle program, like retired technician Tom Boarman, are looking forward to reuniting with Atlantis.

"Well, it will be a very familiar sight to me," Boarman said. "I've seen it on the pad many times — all the shuttles."

Hey, we were told in the '60s that we'd grow up to be astronauts if we drank Tang and that our heroes loved it!

But the second man on the moon — Apollo 11's Buzz Aldrin — says "Tang sucks."

TMZ.com broke the news that Aldrin let loose with his real opinion during taping of Spike TV's Guys Choice awards, which airs Thursday at 9 p.m. ET.

Pinellas Sheriff's officials say a Brandon mother was killed by an apparent lightning strike on Belleair Beach Tuesday. Phyllis Kalinowski is the fifth person killed by a lightning strike across the country this year, and the first in Florida.

NASA.gov

When the White House unveils its fiscal year 2014 budget next week, prepare to have your mind blown. The financial estimate includes about $100 million for something most of us have only imagined.

Are we talking about a lifetime supply of hoagies from Wawa, the trendy convenience store chain that was met with great fanfare when it recently opened its first Tampa Bay locations? Nope. Think bigger... and farther. The money will help human beings get closer to establishing a permanent settlement in space. That's according to U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who apparently got the inside scoop during a briefing with scientists.

University of Florida

If Florida is God’s waiting room, then Polk County must be the alcove reserved for his longtime patients.

Researchers have used 5-million-year-old fossils found in Polk County phosphate mines to identify a new genus and species of extinct saber-toothed cat.

Scientists had previously thought the animal's ancestors originated in the Old World and migrated to this side of the pond. But the latest findings, based on fossil acquisitions from the past three decades, make one thing clear: Just like Super Bowl champ Ray Lewis and former Mouseketeer Lindsey Alley, the new species  hails from closer to Polk County.

Grapefruit Hybrid Might Be Safer to Consume

Mar 12, 2013
dreamstime.com

Grapefruit lovers who had to do away with the citrus fruit because of effects it had on certain medications have a new found hope. A hybrid grapefruit is in the works.

Grapefruit has a certain way of interacting with some drugs like those used for cancer, the heart, and lowering high cholesterol. The natural chemicals in grapefruits called furanocoumarins, or FCs, don't allow these drugs to break down and may result in an overdose.

Susan Giles Wantuck

This weekend, Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry opens the doors on the world premiere of "Sea Monsters Revealed." 

And if a fisherman told the tale of how big some of these fish are, you would never believe him. 

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