Science news

Phillip Whitley / St. Augustine Record

Some unique cargo made its way down First Coast waterways today.

A giant, orange external fuel tank from NASA's space shuttle program passed through the area en route from Kennedy Space Center to Green Cove Springs. The fuel tank and other space shuttle artifacts will eventually make their way to the Wing of Dreams Aviation Museum in Keystone Heights. NASA has more about the trek on its website.

Astronomers have found three planets orbiting far-off stars that are close to Earth-sized and in the "habitable zone": a distance from their suns that makes the planets' surfaces neither too hot nor too cold, but just right.

One of the three planets orbits a star with the prosaic name Kepler-69.

Rat-Sized, Housing-Eating Snails Invade South Florida

Apr 15, 2013
Reuters, Florida Department of Agriculture

(Reuters) - South Florida is fighting a growing infestation of one of the world's most destructive invasive species: the giant African land snail, which can grow as big as a rat and gnaw through stucco and plaster.

More than 1,000 of the mollusks are being caught each week in Miami-Dade and 117,000 in total since the first snail was spotted by a homeowner in September 2011, said Denise Feiber, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Mark Garlick -Science Photo Library via New Scientist

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson says when President Barack Obama's proposed federal budget is released next week it will include about $100 million to jump start a program scientists say is the next step towards establishing a permanent space colony.

The plan is for NASA to capture an  asteroid with a robotic spacecraft and tow it back toward Earth where it can be placed in orbit around the moon.

Then, astronauts aboard an Orion capsule, powered into space by a new monster rocket, would travel to the asteroid.  

When the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) was approved in 2000, it was a historic move to "restore, protect and preserve" water resources in central and south Florida. The 30-year framework was designed with the ultimate goal of restoring historic water-flows to a "dying ecosystem." Project leaders and scientists are now focused on incorporating climate change adaptation into the plans and acknowledging that the Everglades will likely never look the way it once did. 

Seffner Sinkhole Claims Two More Victims

Apr 2, 2013

The sinkhole that opened up under a Seffner man’s bedroom killing him and leading to the home’s demolition has claimed two more victims.

Engineering consultants, hired by Hillsborough County, have examined two neighboring houses and concluded the soil under their foundations is unstable so those structures are susceptible to sinkholes as well.

Additionally, the experts determined that fixing the unstable ground would cost more than 50 percent of the homes’ value.


According to the American Geophysical Union

Voyager 1, launched 35 years ago, has left the solar system. 

However NASA says its not quite yet out of the neighborhood.

NASA has a nice web site where you can see photos and track where the Voyager space crafts are now. 


Demolition continues today on a home in Seffner, near Tampa, where a man was killed when sinkhole opened up under his bedroom. The sad and frightening story of a man swallowed up by the Earth as he slept has most Floridians paying more attention to sinkholes, but they're actually a fairly common occurrence in the state.