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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. 

It took Danica Patrick 45.817 seconds to circle the track and win the pole position for the Daytona 500. It'll take about four hours to determine who wins the famed race that starts the Sprint Cup season at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.

By taking the No. 1 slot, Patrick made history as the first woman to win a pole in NASCAR's elite division. And she made some people wonder whether the pole position — and her light weight — might give her an advantage.

Space exploration has stirred imaginations and piloted hopes and dreams, but the future of space travel looks very different from the age in which Neil Armstrong made it to the moon.

Since NASA is no longer doing manned missions, astronaut hopefuls have turned their sites on the private sector.

Private Adventurism

NASA

It's a somber day on Florida's east coast, as Kennedy Space Center holds a Day of Remembrance on the 10-year anniversary of the space shuttle Columbia disaster.

The morning of Feb. 1, 2003, the shuttle Columbia was just 16 minutes from landing when it broke apart in mid-air, killing all seven crew members.

Today at 10 a.m., the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex held a ceremony honoring those lost on the Columbia, as well as on the ill-fated Apollo 1 in 1967 and Challenger in 1986. In a statement on NASA's website, Pres. Barack Obama said of the fallen astronauts, "Right now we are working to fulfill their highest aspirations by pursuing a path in space never seen before, one that will eventually put Americans on Mars."

Last month, NASA released this video tribute to the Columbia crew:

If a stranger attacks you inside your own home, the law has always permitted you to defend yourself. On the other hand, if an altercation breaks out in public, the law requires you to try to retreat. At least, that's what it used to do.

The Trust for America's Health organization released its Ready or Not? report today rating each state on its measures to protecting the public from diseases, disasters, and bioterrorism. Florida racked up only half of the points.

The annual Ready or Not? report is meant to provide policymakers and the public with analyses of progress and points of improvement in the country's public health preparedness.

Flu Season is Starting Early and Strong

Dec 4, 2012
JDNews.com

The Centers for Disease Control says the start of this flu season is the earliest recorded in almost a decade, especially in the southeast U.S. 

Florida Epidemiologist Carina Blackmore says this year they have noticed two strains of flu, A & B.  She says most of the widespread outbreaks are caused by strain A.

Blackmore says Florida is seeing more of Flu B.

Courtesy AdamSavage.com

People are curious. That's probably why Discovery Channel's "Mythbusters" is such a hit.

Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman bring their explosive brand of urban myth debunking to the University of South Florida Sun Dome Saturday night.

They recently took on an enduring cinematic mystery recently by testing out the question left by the smash movie Titanic, "Did Jack Dawson really have to die?"

Courtesy US Air Force

The Global Hawk drone is known for raining fire in war zones far from the United States. But now, NASA is using the planes to check out hurricanes, as reported in Florida Today.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

They are ingrained in American history as the launching point for our manned missions to space. And now - for the first time ever - you don't have to be a rocket scientist to get close to the places where the space shuttle and Apollo missions left the Earth. We take a new tour of the Kennedy Space Center.

While you're enjoying your coffee this morning, half a dozen scientists are already at work. They're not sitting at desks, however, but a few miles off the Florida Keys, 60 feet down on the ocean bottom.

Get ready for a wet weekend. There's a 70 percent chance that a low in the Gulf could become Tropical Storm Debby soon -- perhaps as early as today. The storm is now expected to his the Tampa Bay region before crossing Florida.

It's tomato time here in the mid-Atlantic – the critical moment when those of us eager to pull fat, bright fruit off our own backyard vines in a couple months are scurrying to get tender little plants in the ground.

But as anyone who's spent a few summers of kneeling in the dirt can tell you, healthy-looking vines will not necessarily get you a mind-blowingly delicious tomato. And why?

Courtesy of NASA.gov

The transit of Venus, when the planet can be seen as a black dot moving across the sun, is happening today starting at 6 PM.

The transit of Venus happens every 100 years or so and tonight's viewing is the last one of the century. The next viewing won't be until December 2117.

The transits usually occur in pairs and in a time span of about 8 years. The first one happened in 2004.

Private Rocket Launch Successful, Heads to Space Station

May 22, 2012
John Raoux / AP

A commercial rocket blasted off at 3:44 a.m. Tuesday with a load of supplies for the International Space Station. The SpaceX company's Falcon 9 rocket took flight from Cape Canaveral carrying a capsule named Dragon that is packed with 1,000 pounds of space station provisions.

Nell Greenfieldboyce covered the launch for National Public Radio:

Doug Finger / Gainesville Sun

A pair of University of South Florida researchers has won the third annual Cade Museum Prize for Innovation for a device they've developed that uses sound waves from inside a patient's body to diagnose health problems.

Phil Hipol, the engineering director at USF Health's Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS), and Dr. Stuart Hart, professor in USF Health's Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, won the prize for their electronic catheter stethoscope, or "eCath."

Carol and Barney Barnett - members of the family that founded the Publix Supermarket chain - have donated $1 million for series of new classrooms at the Florida Aquarium.

It will be called the Carol and Barney Barnett Learning Center—part of the Aquarium’s "Rising Tides Campaign," which aims to raise $15 million in donations.

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