Science news


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

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.


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

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.

Roberto Gonzalez/Getty Images

NASA's oldest space shuttle, Discovery, made its final flight today aboard a modified 747 jumbo jet.  It left Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral just after sunrise Tuesday morning bound for Dulles International Airport in Virginia.

It will go on display at Smithsonian Air & Space Museum hanger at the airport.