space

UCF Scientist Discovers Secret Life Of Comets

Sep 23, 2019
University of Arizona/Heather Roper

Scientists led by a UCF researcher have uncovered a cosmic doorway where comets pass as they travel through the solar system. The findings are helping scientists better understand how our solar system formed.

The team set out to study something called a centaur — small body object that has an orbit between Jupiter and Neptune’s orbit. When it gets closer to the sun, a centaur becomes active showing comet-like activity as it begins to throw out gas and dust particles giving it a tail.

On the face of it, NASA's newest probe sounds incredible. Known as Dragonfly, it is a dual-rotor quadcopter (technically an octocopter, even more technically an X8 octocopter); it's roughly the size of a compact car; it's completely autonomous; it's nuclear powered; and it will hover above the surface of Saturn's moon Titan.

Nicole Stott / Courtesy

A space suit made out of hundreds of textile fabrics with hearts, stars, drawn space rockets and planets made by kids and cancer patients from over 45 countries will be on display at the R House Wynwood art gallery starting this weekend. 

NASA

NASA scientists have selected four possible locations to fly a spacecraft close to an asteroid and collect a sample of dirt from its surface.

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is currently orbiting the asteroid Bennu which is more than 100 million miles away. The plan is to fly the spacecraft close to the surface, suck up some dust and send it back to Earth.

The team has selected four possible selection sites and plans to pick the final area by the end of this year. The asteroid’s rocky surface was a surprise to the team and complicates the mission.

Fifty years ago, an estimated 530 million people gathered around their TVs to watch astronauts take off from Cape Canaveral's Kennedy Space Center on the Apollo 11 Space Shuttle for the first mission to the moon. 

Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post

A long-lasting fireball that broke into several pieces over South Florida this morning could be a piece of space junk forecast to fall to Earth today, said an official with the American Meteor Society.

Mike Hankey, the operations manager for AMS, said he is “100 percent sure” the lights were space debris breaking up in the atmosphere.

According to the website Satview.org, a piece of space junk was expected to reenter the atmosphere at about 7 a.m. this morning.

NASA's Moon Capsule Safety Test 'Successful'

Jul 2, 2019
NASA

NASA has successfully tested a key safety system on a new space capsule designed to take humans to the moon. The space agency tested the launch abort system of the Orion spacecraft — which is meant to save astronauts should something go wrong during launch. 

The test lasted only about three minutes, launching Tuesday from Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex 46. A modified Northrop Grumman Peacekeeper ICBM launched the uncrewed test capsule to an altitude of about six miles, simulating the high-stress aerodynamic conditions expected during an actual liftoff.

The asteroid is in a horrible orbit and has a 1% chance of striking Earth in just eight years. And — thank goodness — it doesn't really exist.

It's a fictitious asteroid that's the focus of a realistic exercise devised for scientists and engineers from around the world who are attending the 2019 Planetary Defense Conference being held this week outside Washington, D.C.

A real asteroid of this size, should it ever hit the planet, could wipe out an entire city.

SpaceX

Since the end of the shuttle program in 2011, Florida has worked to court private space business to fill the gap. Now, other states like Georgia, Texas and Colorado are looking to capitalize on the private space boom. Stakeholders, along with the Governor and Legislature, have a plan to hold on to Florida’s dominance in the space industry.

Asteroid 2010 WC9 was lost, then it was found — and now the small space rock that is hundreds of feet wide is zooming toward Earth, making a close but safe pass on Tuesday that will see it fly roughly halfway between our planet and the moon.

Before we continue: There is no risk of even a partial collision, and the asteroid will stay tens of thousands of miles away from the outer limits of Earth's atmosphere. So there's no reason to take cover when the asteroid makes its closest approach at 6:05 p.m. ET Tuesday.

The supermassive black hole lurking at the center of our galaxy appears to have a lot of company, according to a new study that suggests the monster is surrounded by about 10,000 other black holes.

For decades, scientists have thought that black holes should sink to the center of galaxies and accumulate there, says Chuck Hailey, an astrophysicist at Columbia University. But scientists had no proof that these exotic objects had actually gathered together in the center of the Milky Way.

Updated at 10:15 p.m. ET

As predicted, China's Tiangong-1 space lab fell from the sky on Sunday evening.

The city bus-sized craft, which almost entirely burned up as it re-entered the Earth's atmosphere, broke into small pieces as it plummeted over the South Pacific Ocean. The derelict spacecraft has been slowly falling out of its original orbit for several years.

NASA

The Trump administration’s $19.9 billion budget for NASA calls for privatizing the International Space Station. Senator Bill Nelson is blasting the proposed budget.

The budget proposal provides nearly $10 billion to support human space exploration of the moon. It pays for the Space Launch System and Orion capsule, that will launch from Kennedy Space Center, slated for a mission to the moon in 2020.

SpaceX Braves New Cosmos With Falcon Heavy Launch

Feb 7, 2018
Elon Musk via Instagram

The Florida Space Coast is the site of space travel’s most iconic moments. In 1969, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong successfully traveled to the moon. They took off from Cape Canaveral on the Saturn V – one of the most powerful rockets to date.

SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy is now the most powerful active rocket to date. It blasted off on its maiden flight from Cape Canaveral on Tuesday.

Elon Musk via Instagram

A SpaceX “Starman” is aboard the company’s new rocket that’s set to make its launch debut from Florida.

SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk revealed pictures of the surprise passenger Monday. The figure is in the driver’s seat of Musk’s red Tesla Roadster, the cargo for Tuesday’s first test flight of the Falcon Heavy. The right hand is on the wheel, the left arm rests on the convertible’s door.

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