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2017 Will Be a Busy Year for Florida’s Space Coast


Launch of OSIRIS-REx aboard a ULA Atlas V 411 on Sept. 8, 2016.

Florida’s Space Coast is anticipating 32 rocket launches in 2017, according to the USAF’s 45th Space Wing which manages Patrick AFB and the launch region around Cape Canaveral. This is nine more than the amount that launched from the Cape in 2016 (two of which I was lucky enough to be present for) but still just a few short of the 2021 goal of 48 launches annually. Still, with launch providers like ULA, OrbitalATK, and SpaceX all increasing their services for NASA, the U.S. military, and commercial companies—and newcomer Blue Origin ready in the wings—the Space Coast is rapidly becoming a busy place again…undoubtedly a welcome development nearly six years after the last shuttle flight.

Read the rest of this article and watch a video of 2016’s launches on Florida Today.

X-Ray Observatory Finds Galactic Black Holes Hidden “Like Monsters Under The Bed”

NGC 1448, a galaxy with a supermassive black hole hidden by gas and dust, located 38 million light-years away. Credit: Carnegie-Irvine Galaxy Survey/NASA/JPL-Caltech

Many if not all galaxies—including our Milky Way—harbor enormous, supermassive black holes at their centers, surrounded by disks of superheated gas and orbiting stars caught in a deadly gravitational grip. When these black holes swallow large amounts of gas or even whole stars, they can fire out huge flares of material and radiation that’s can be seen far across the universe. But if there happens to be a lot of cold, dark dust in the way these active galactic nuclei can remain hidden from our view…that is, until NASA’s NuSTAR space telescope was put on the job. Especially sensitive to radiation in high-energy x-ray wavelengths, NuSTAR has allowed astronomers to detect previously hidden supermassive black holes…one of them at the heart of a galaxy relatively close to our own.

Read the rest of this story from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory here: Black Holes Hide in Our Cosmic Backyard

JWST Isn’t the Next Hubble, It’s the First James Webb

For more than 25 years the Hubble Space Telescope has been giving us unprecedented and breathtaking views of our Universe, looking deep into distant galaxies and revealing the structures and secrets of our own Milky Way. Hubble literally allowed us to rewrite the book(s) on what we know about the Universe, and to this day it’s still going strong. But in October 2018 NASA will launch its next great observatory, the James Webb Space Telescope, and with its enormous suite of gold-plated mirrors the JWST will gaze even deeper into the cosmos than any other telescope ever could. Yes, like Hubble, JWST will be an orbiting space observatory but it isn’t just “another Hubble”—it will be something far, far more.

“Hubble showed us what the Universe looks like; James Webb will show us how the Universe came to be the way it is today.”
— Ethan Siegel, Astrophysicist

Read more about JWST in Ethan Siegel’s article on Forbes here: The James Webb Space Telescope Will Truly Do What Hubble Only Dreamed Of

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Did NASA Purposely Cut Space Station Footage of a UFO?

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A truly “unidentified” object on ISS live feed on July 9, 2016…WHAT COULD IT BE?

Various news outlets today have run with a story about a supposed UFO spotted on live video streamed from the International Space Station, in which a bright object is visible “descending” into Earth’s atmosphere. The video* was shared on YouTube by a self-proclaimed UFO hunter—which basically means someone who stares at ISS feeds on their computers until their eyes melt and any speck of anything seen moving is instantly circled, copied into a slow-mo edited version, and overlaid with ominous music and/or bold text highlights claiming alien visitation and government cover-ups. (Views ensue.)

To help this particular spotting along is the fact that the feed cut out just as the object nears the edge of the atmosphere. Assured proof of a galactic-scale conspiracy by NASA and the NWO, right???

Please. Here’s my two-and-a-half cents:

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NASA Sets Sail to Study Ocean and Climate

The research vessel Atlantis departing its port at Woods Hole, MA on May 11, 2016. © Jason Major

The research vessel Atlantis departing its port at Woods Hole, MA on May 11, 2016. © Jason Major

NASA has launched on another mission of exploration, except this time it wasn’t on a rocket ship from Cape Canaveral but rather on a research ship from Cape Cod.

NASA’s North Atlantic Aerosols and Marine Ecosystems Study—aka NAAMES—is a five-year-long investigation to resolve key processes controlling ocean system function, their influences on atmospheric aerosols and clouds and their implications for climate. The second month-long NAAMES cruise aboard the R/V Atlantis set sail from the ship’s harbor in Woods Hole, Massachusetts a little after 3:00 p.m. EDT on May 11, 2016, headed for target sites in the North Atlantic off the coast of Greenland and Nova Scotia.

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