NASA

nasa.gov

After traveling across three billion miles of space the past decade, New Horizons is ready for its close-up – of Pluto.

If all goes according to plan, the probe will pass to within about 8,000 miles of Pluto’s surface, completing Man’s snapshots of the nine planets of our solar system. This mission is one of many firsts – the fastest spacecraft ever launched; the farthest destination ever explored, the first mission to Pluto in a binary planetary system, and the first mission in NASA’s New Frontiers program.

  On July 20, 1969, man became an interstellar voyager when Apollo 11 made the first of a half-dozen visits on the moon. 

It was 45 years ago when the world heard astronaut Neil Armstrong’s “One giant step for mankind” remark as he stepped down onto the lunar surface. Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first of a dozen Americans to walk on the moon and return home safely. A third astronaut, Michael Collins, piloted the Apollo 11 command spacecraft in lunar orbit.

Larry Chamblin

350 Pensacola hosted a talk this week on climate change and why there’s such a deep divide over the issue. The event was held Tuesday, July 7 at the Bayview Senior Resource Center. Larry Chamblin, a local climate activist and member of 350 Pensacola, made the presentation, titled: “Public Opinion, Politics, and the Challenge of Communicating Climate Change.”

“It’s a huge challenge,” says Chamblin, referencing the split public opinion.

Former astronaut Bill Shepherd is a veteran of three Space Shuttle missions. He also commanded the first expedition to the newly constructed International Space Station in 2000, leading a crew that included two Russians. He recently spoke at the Evening Lecture Series at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition about that expedition and the space station. He spoke to IHMC communications manager.

NASA.gov

North and South America are gearing up for the first eclipses of the year. But you’ll have to either stay up late or get up early to view it.

Wayne Wooten, an astronomer at Pensacola State College, says the moon will be eclipsed by Earth's shadow early Tuesday morning and will be visible here -- if the weather cooperates.

Kay Forrest

An asteroid estimated to be three football fields in diameter flew by Earth earlier this week, missing our planet by “only” two million miles while traveling at roughly 27,000 miles per hour. Many consider the two million mile cushion a “close call.” Wayne Wooten, an astronomer at Pensacola State College, is not among them.

“Really far away,” says Wooten. “I think why this one got publicity when we actually had a bigger one come a lot closer just three or four days earlier was because it had been lost and then recovered. But this is not too unusual. These are small bodies.”

MIT Press

A researcher from the Institute of Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) was awarded the 2014 Gardner-Lasser Aerospace History Literature Award. The award honors the best original contribution to the field of aeronautical or astronautical historical non-fiction literature published in the last five years.