space exploration

A NASA spacecraft is on its way to the sun after launching from Cape Canaveral on a Delta IV Heavy Rocket. It will be the closest object to ever whiz by the sun and stands to become the fastest human made object, clocking in at around 480,000 miles per hour.

Early Saturday morning, if all goes as planned, 91-year-old Eugene Parker will watch a NASA spacecraft named after him blast off on an unprecedented mission to study the sun.

"It's my first rocket launch, so that will be very interesting," says Parker, a retired astrophysicist who lives in Chicago.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lit up the sky around Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida early Tuesday with a successful launch, placing an Indonesian telecommunications satellite into orbit and demonstrating the reusability of the company's upgraded booster.

New Rocket-Landing Ship Coming To Florida's Coast

Jul 31, 2018
Courtesy SpaceX

SpaceX will get another ship to help land rocket boosters off Florida’s Space Coast.

SpaceX lands the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket so that it can be reused on future missions…lowering the cost of access to space.

For some missions, SpaceX lands the booster on a drone ship that looks like a barge and tows the booster back into Port Canaveral.

As SpaceX’s launches more rockets, it will need more ships. Founder Elon Musk said a new ship named ‘A Shortfall of Gravitas’ will arrive in Florida next summer.

An Italian team of scientists says it has strong evidence of a subsurface lake of liquid water on Mars. It's a discovery that adds to the speculation that there could once have been life on Mars — and raises the possibility that it might be there still today, since liquid water is an essential ingredient for life.

Scientists: Keep Your Dirty Earth Germs Off Mars

Jul 5, 2018

The launch this year of a sports car into space this year signaled a new age in commercial space exploration. But what if ‘Starman’ wasn’t the only passenger on that Tesla? A committee is asking NASA to rework its plans to protect the solar system from contamination by human germs.

In July, Mars will make its closest approach to Earth in 15 years. Astronomers are hoping their observations will contribute some useful information about the weather and surface conditions on the red planet.

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.

NASA's InSight lander is on its way to Mars, after a successful launch on Saturday morning.

The lander was launched by an Atlas V rocket taking off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California shortly after 4 a.m. local time. It successfully separated from the upper stage more than an hour later.

The lander is in contact with mission control as it heads off on its six-month trip to the Red Planet.

Danny Hwang

As part of a project to find the best edible plants to grow in space, NASA has turned to South Florida students.

High school and middle schoolers participating in the Fairchild Challenge educational competition are helping select food plants appropriate for growing aboard a spacecraft by conducting plant experiments, specially designed through the Growing Beyond Earth partnership between the space agency and the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden. 

If signs of life are found on a planet beyond our solar system sometime in the next decade, they'll most likely be on a planet discovered by a NASA satellite that's scheduled to launch on Monday.