Humans are going back to the moon for the fist time in a long time ... and this time a woman will be leaving her footprint on that giant rock in the sky.
NASA just announced a new space mission they're set to embark on over the next few years with the intent of getting boots on the lunar ground by 2024 to study water they discovered recently, and see if it's usable.
The thinking is the H20 -- now found could be a sign of life, 'cause that's technically what an organism on Earth would need to thrive. Then again, it could just be mutant space water, so that's what they're gonna check out.
NASA hasn't announced the crew members' names yet.
There's more to this trip than just agua ... NASA says not only is it going to study the water, but the new U.S. moon missions -- dubbed Artemis -- will also try to establish a long-term presence there by the end of the decade, and use it as a springboard to our neighbor ... MARS, baby!!!
BTW, if you're wondering why we haven't been back to the moon more regularly -- the last time we set foot there was in '72, during the Apollo missions -- the space agency has chalked it up to politics, support and funding, or a lack thereof. It wasn't because they couldn't do it.
In total, humans have been to the moon 6 times. Get ready to put another notch in our space belts.
Neil deGrasse Tyson is trying to ease fears about the asteroid that's got a shot of striking the U.S. before election day -- but also knows everyone wants to panic, cause it's 2020.
The famed astrophysicist joined us on "TMZ Live" Thursday for a science lesson on the refrigerator-sized space rock hurtling towards Earth. Here's the truth, folks ... he says the chance of it landing on American soil on Nov. 2 is less than 1 percent.
But, does that really sound comforting with all we've seen so far in 2020?!? Didn't think so.
The good news ... Neil's got some more information that might help ease your mind. Even if the asteroid does end up in line for a direct hit, he says it's NOT killer-sized, and instead, it'll just create one helluva light show.
Neil, who hosts the new Fox show, "Cosmos: Possible Worlds," says a direct hit is even getting a little ahead of ourselves. The prediction's based on a limited amount of data -- the proverbial "small sample size" for all you baseball nuts enjoying the World Series.
Of course, NASA's also confirmed the asteroid is on a trajectory to possibly strike ... and the space agency is staying mum on the 3 possible points of impact. Thanks?
Neil's also got cool nuggets about another asteroid that could hold clues to the origin of our solar system. Fascinating stuff that's clearly not in line with Bible teachings, but he even addressed that with us.
Sorry, Mr. President, but science is pretty awesome.
Kate Rubins just cast the mother of all mail-in ballots -- she's not even on Earth and she still cast her vote!!! What's your excuse?
The NASA astronaut voted Thursday from her post aboard the International Space Station, which is about 250 miles or so above our planet ... so you could call this the definition of going above and beyond.
Like most Houston area based astronauts, Kate votes in Texas ... and there's a super cool process for getting her absentee ballot from lower Earth orbit all the way down to the Lone Star State.
As you can see, there's a secure voting booth on the ISS ... and Kate voted using a secure electronic ballot generated by the Harris County Clerk's office and uplinked by Mission Control. Kate's completed ballot is then downlinked and delivered back to the County Clerk’s Office by e-mail to be officially recorded.
Astronauts have been legally allowed to vote from space since 1997, and Kate also cast her ballot from the ISS in the 2016 election. She says if she can vote from space, folks should be getting done on the ground.
See? No excuses.
Neil deGrasse Tyson is warning earthlings, an asteroid may be heading for our planet before election day, but it's probably not going to kill us ... but maybe something else will.
The famed astrophysicist posted a photo of the giant rock hurtling toward Earth, with the caption, "asteroid 2018VP1, a refrigerator-sized space-rock, is hurtling towards us at more than 25,000 mi/hr."
He goes on to say it could have a brush with Earth at an ominous time ... "It may buzz-cut Earth on Nov. 2, the day before the Presidential Election. But it’s not big enough to cause harm. So if the World ends in 2020, it won’t be the fault of the Universe."
Neil, who hosts the new Fox show, “Cosmos: Possible Worlds," didn't say what else could end the world as we know it, but we have ideas.
As for the asteroid ... NASA has confirmed it's on a trajectory to possibly hit the U.S. on Nov. 2. It's 6.5 feet in diameter and there's only a 1% chance it will hit somewhere in the country, but still ... it's 2020.
The space agency is saying there are 3 possible points of impact, but they weren't specific. Great.
Astronauts will very soon be taking a crap in a toilet that costs a whopping $23 million. Science, baby.
NASA's set to launch nearly 8,000 pounds of supplies Tuesday from its Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia to the International Space Station ... and the cargo will include the Universal Waste Management System.
The toilet -- around 28 inches tall -- will be 65% smaller and 40% lighter than the current John on the ISS, but it'll have the capability to support larger crews. It will be installed next to the current toilet, and astronauts will test how the new crapper performs in a microgravity environment.
Some of the toilet's features -- a urine funnel and seat made to be more accommodating for female crew members. It'll also feature a 3D-printed titanium dual-fan separator ... which creates a strong airflow that'll help pull the astronauts' urine and waste into the toilet.
Remember, no gravity up there so they'll take all the help they can get.
The new toilet also improves the pretreat system that's used to collect and treat urine before it's processed and recycled for reclaimed water. If the new toilet's a hit ... it could one day be used on missions to the moon and even Mars.
The re-supply mission will also include food, science experiments and even skincare from Estée Lauder.
Most Hollywood types say, "Let's do lunch" ... but for Tom Cruise, it's "Let's do LAUNCH" -- and now he knows when he'll make his virgin voyage to space to film a movie.
Tom's hitching a ride on a SpaceX Crew Dragon rocket and capsule to the International Space Station in October 2021 to start filming in orbit ... according to the 2020-2023 ISS official manifest.
Mr. "Mission Impossible" will be joined by "Edge of Tomorrow" director Doug Liman as the pioneering film project gets underway.
As we reported ... Tom is working hand in hand with SpaceX honcho Elon Musk and NASA to film an action-adventure flick aboard the ISS. The film, which will become the first shot in outer space, is reportedly NOT a "Mission Impossible" flick.
Hopefully, Tom takes some sage advice from retired astronauts Scott Kelly and Roy Bridges Jr. ahead of his big adventure ... remember, the famous astronauts say boning up on toilet science is extremely important!!!
More bombshell evidence that aliens have touched down and our own government has teamed up with them to RULE US ALL ... that is, if you buy what this UFO hunter's selling.
This guy named Scott C. Waring -- a self-described expert in the field of ufology -- recently claimed that he spotted what he says is a roughly 52-foot tall structure on the premises of Area 51, out in Nevada -- which appears ... almost human-like, and possibly alien made???
That's what Waring here is kinda implying. He wrote in a blog post, "I found a 16 meter dark figure in Area 51 and there seems to be another to the right of it, but shorter," adding ... "When I checked through the past photos of that location, I notice that the figure actually moves onto its side, then changes its poses in each photo. It actually moves."
As for how he even stumbled across these images, Waring punched in Area 51's exact coordinates, 37°13'26.26"N 115°49'2.37”W, into Google Earth ... and yes, it's still there.
He theorizes this thing was manufactured by aliens, captured by American forces and is being explored to use for possible missions. So in other words, AT-AT Walkers (ish).
While this could merely be a shadow (or nothing at all), heck ... maybe it IS aliens. We've already seen some seemingly credible UFO sightings in this wild year of 2020.
With everything else that's happened so far, sure ... we could buy giant alien robots. Bring on the invasion!!!
OK ... we're in the grip of a pandemic, there are tropical storms swirling around the country, police shootings seem like an everyday occurrence, Trump is making rumblings he won't leave office even if he loses ... and now, an asteroid may hit the U.S. hours before the election.
NASA broke the news ... an asteroid is on a trajectory to hit the United States of America on November 2, 2020.
The good news ... it's 6.5 feet in diameter and there's only a 1% chance it will hit somewhere in the country. With our luck in 2020, who's betting that it will miss?
The space agency is saying there are 3 possible points of impact, but they weren't specific.
Don't dismiss this danger too quickly. Jim Bridenstine, a NASA Administrator, warned last year ... asteroids could be the biggest threat to Mother Earth.
12:00 PM PT -- The splashdown landing was a success! Two small boats came in directly after landing to check the Crew Dragon capsule. The first message to the astronauts from mission control upon landing was, "Thank you for flying SpaceX."
SpaceX and NASA's #LaunchAmerica journey is on the verge of completing a successful mission -- they're coming back to Earth, and we're streaming it live.
American astronauts Robert Behnken and Doug Hurley -- who were shot into orbit back in May aboard SpaceX's Dragon Endeavor -- are set to touch down Sunday. Their spacecraft is scheduled to splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, FL at 11:45 AM PT
They've been in orbit aboard the ISS for the past 62 days and made 1,024 revolutions around our planet ... this after Elon Musk and co. sent them up in an effort to get more American space missions kickstarted ... not to mention potential space tourism in the near future.
The initial launch went off without a hitch -- after the Falcon 9 rocket took Bob and Doug to a certain point ... it landed safely aboard a ship waiting out at sea. The boys then took control from there, and once they were close enough ... they docked with the ISS.
The #LaunchAmerica mission marks the first time in nearly a decade since Americans have been up among the stars.
Originally published -- 11:30 AM PT
SpaceX's latest mission's off to a good start, thanks to the same rocket booster that launched NASA astronauts on their journey to the International Space Station in May ... and here's the incredible footage.
The Falcon 9 launched the ANASIS-II Mission rocket on Monday around 5:30 PM ET from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, this time to set a communications satellite into orbit.
Videographer Ryan Chylinski utilized a slo-mo camera and zoom lens to capture the stunning moment ... and the telescope-tracking vid shows the rocket in great detail.
Reusing the same rocket hardware for this latest mission is part of CEO Elon Musk's plan for SpaceX to save money on outer space exploration.
It was awesome and picture-perfect, as the 2 U.S. astronauts hitched their space capsule onto the International Space Station.
It went down Sunday AM Earth time ... 19 hours after the Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
It's the first time in the history of U.S. space exploration that astronauts were hurled into parts unknown by a rocket manufactured by a private company -- in this case, Elon Musk's SpaceX.
A cam from the Space Station captured the docking procedure ... check out the red, white and green lights that signify the progress as the Dragon capsule bellies up to its host.
The 2 astronauts -- Robert Behnken and Doug Hurley -- took over the controls during part of the maneuver. The actual docking was computer-driven.
The docking follows a picture-perfect launch Saturday afternoon. The docking indicated that the first portion of the test flight with crew aboard was successful.
The trip will be considered a complete success once the astronauts return to Earth in the near future, opening the way for more travel to the space station and orbit by astronauts and perhaps space tourists in the years to come.
The Space Station is 250 miles above the earth and travels at the incomprehensible speed of 17,500 MPH. NASA, which partnered with SpaceX, hasn't decided how long the astronauts will stay up in space. It could be anywhere between a month and 3 months.
12:53 PM PT -- Falcon 9 is back on the ground after landing on a remote droneship, with the Crew Dragon capsule flying freely into Earth's orbit now. By all measures, Demo-2 has been a resounding and historical success.
12:27 PM PT -- The Falcon 9 rocket ship is in the AIR and on its way to the ISS, following a successful launch that seemed to go off without a hitch!!! Now, only something like 48 hours (give or take a day) left to go ...
12:14 PM PT -- President Trump has just arrived at the launch.
Elon Musk and co. are officially ready for round 2 of takeoff, just days after calling off their monumental space mission ... and TMZ is streaming the event live.
A couple of NASA astronauts are set to be launched into orbit Saturday via SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and accompanying the Crew Dragon capsule, which will be blasting off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The mission has been dubbed, Demo-2.
Of course, Saturday's mission was supposed to go down Wednesday -- but it got pushed back due to bad weather ... something the space team there didn't wanna toy with and risk. Now, they're running it back with a predicted 50/50 chance of acceptable conditions.
The team is sending these astronauts to the International Space Station -- 250 miles or so above the Earth. This would mark the first spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in just under a decade. The point of the mission is to see if we're able to taxi astronauts to and from the ISS and Earth -- something Elon's rocketship proved to be capable of a few years ago when SpaceX first secured a multi-billion dollar contract with NASA and passed some tests.
Looks like the two American astronauts being sent up there -- Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken -- are already suited up and aboard the spacecraft. SpaceX says all systems are a go (for now) ... and everything seems primed for an actual launch -- barring any unforeseen mishaps (like an explosion at the launchpad or a lightning storm or something).
Originally Published -- 11:53 AM PT
Stay tuned ...
Elon Musk will tell ya, making history makes ya hungry ... which is why when bad weather scrapped his SpaceX launch earlier this week, he worked up a big burger-sized appetite.
The SpaceX honcho hit up Five Guys with his 2 bodyguards for some tasty burgers Wednesday, not long after the attempt to launch 2 NASA astronauts to the International Space Station got postponed ... until Saturday at 3:22 PM ET.
Les Hatter, Five Guys' VP of Operations of the Central Florida franchise, tells TMZ … Elon stopped at a location in West Melbourne -- which is about 45 minutes from the Kennedy Space Center, where the launch will hopefully happen for real this time.
Conveniently, there's a Tesla supercharging station less than 100 feet from the front door of the fast-food joint ... which had to have made parking a breeze for the electric vehicle company boss.
We're told, Musk sent his guys in to order the food while he stayed out front and chatted with some guests as they were coming and going.
As for what they got -- a round of Little Cheeseburgers (don't let the name fool ya, they're quite hefty), fries and a drink ... and got 'em to go.
As you know, SpaceX is trying to become the first commercial aerospace company to send humans into Earth's orbit. The mission is dubbed Demo-2, and SpaceX's Crew Dragon will take off from the historic Pad, 39A, which famously launched Apollo 11 in 1969 ... en route to the first moon landing.
The 2 veteran astronauts on this mission are 49-year-old Robert Behnken and 53-year-old Douglas Hurley, and it should take them about 19 hours to travel from Florida to the space station ... God willing, and weather permitting.
Elon Musk is having a rough week -- one of his SpaceX rockets ignited into a massive ball of fire Friday, and yet ... there's still some good news.
The company's 4th prototype of its Starship rocket was fueled up on a south Texas launchpad when it burst into flames. You can hear SpaceX engineers discussing something about a possible methane leak, though it's unclear if that was from the rocket or something nearby the pad.
Either way ... something lit Elon's baby on fire. Luckily, the test was unmanned -- unlike the Crew Dragon spacecraft, they hope to send into orbit on Saturday from Cape Canaveral.
As you know, Wednesday's launch was scrubbed due to crappy weather in Florida. Right now, the launch still only has a 50/50 shot of going off as scheduled. It rains a lot in FL and could get pushed to Sunday.
As for the Starship rocket ... SpaceX hopes that will eventually be able to carry large numbers of space tourists -- up to 100 at a time -- into space, and eventually to Mars.
Show of hands ... who wants to be first on board?
3:10 PM PT -- The two NASA astronauts, Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, have finally disembarked the Dragon capsule ... and they're already looking forward to Saturday's rescheduled launch.
1:23 PM PT -- Elon is going to have to wait a little longer for his company to make history ... SpaceX says Wednesday's launch is OFF due to "unfavorable weather in the flight path."
SpaceX pulled the plug minutes before the rocket carrying astronauts to the ISS was about to blastoff from Florida ... and the next launch is tentatively scheduled for Saturday at 3:22 PM ET.
10:59 AM PT -- The astronauts are already loaded into the capsule and are going through safety protocols. As of now, all systems are go!
Elon Musk is looking to make more space history ... SpaceX is attempting to launch 2 NASA astronauts to the International Space Station ... and TMZ will be live streaming the mission.
Dubbed Demo-2, the mission marks the first time ever a commercial aerospace company is sending humans into Earth's orbit. The milestone is a decade in the making, as human spaceflight finally returns to American soil.
The launch of SpaceX's Crew Dragon is set for 4:33 PM ET from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida ... and the Falcon 9 rocket carrying the capsule is taking off from the historic Pad 39A, which famously launched Apollo 11 way back in 1969, the first moon landing.
SpaceX and NASA are streaming the launch from takeoff all the way until Crew Dragon docks with the ISS, and it should take the capsule about 19 hours to travel from Florida to the space station.
The two veteran astronauts aboard the Dragon spacecraft are 49-year-old Robert Behnken and 53-year-old Douglas Hurley.
NASA says it wants to keep the astronauts on the ISS until another Crew Dragon capsule is ready to send more humans on SpaceX's next mission. Robert and Douglas say they're expecting to spend 1 to 3 months in space before returning home in Crew Dragon, which will land in the Atlantic Ocean.
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Crew Dragon into Earth's upper atmosphere, where the capsule will separate and use its own thrusters to make its way to the ISS. The capsule is fully autonomous, so the astronauts won't have much to do, unless something crazy happens. The rocket, meanwhile, should land on a drone ship after launch.
SpaceX has a $2.6 BILLION contract with NASA ... and the launch marks the first time the United States is sending its own astronauts into space since 2011, when the Space Shuttle Program ended.
Oh, and the capsule has a toilet, which could come in handy during the 19-hour ride.
Originally published -- 9:47 AM PT
Tom Cruise is getting valuable outer space tips before he films aboard the International Space Station, and famous astronauts say boning up on toilet science is super important!!!
Retired astronauts Scott Kelly and Roy Bridges Jr. tell TMZ ... Tom's going to go through loads of training before blasting off to the ISS. Now, this might sound like a joke, but they agree the john will be a key part of his studies. They say it's no space cakewalk when nature calls in zero gravity.
Scott's commanded the ISS on 3 expeditions, and spent more time in space than any human being ... so he knows what he's talking about when he says Tom needs to move slowly aboard the ISS. It's common for most newbies to puke. Again, not pretty in zero-G.
On the positive side -- we think -- he adds, the only thing on Earth that compares to space travel is going over Niagra Falls in a barrel while you're on fire.
Roy, who piloted the Space Shuttle Challenger back in 1985, tells us Tom's body is in for a shock -- blood rushing to his head instead of his feet, due to the ol' zero-G.
Scott and Roy also told us what kind of training Tom can expect before getting on the ISS ... like how to move around safely, how to get in and out of the capsule, how to wear a spacesuit, how to make food AND get it in his mouth, plus how to sleep and clean himself -- think birdbath.
Oh, and we're told Tom's also gotta learn how to prepare for a space emergency, like space debris pummeling the ISS ... and how to survive an ocean splashdown when he comes back to Earth.
Sounds like TC's got his work cut out for him ... but this space mission is definitely possible!!!