UF Joins NASA Mission to Launch Artificial Star Into Earth’s Orbit

The University of Florida will collaborate with nine other universities on a groundbreaking $19.5 million Landolt NASA Space Mission. Recently approved for deployment, the mission seeks to place an artificial “star” into Earth’s orbit. By doing so, it aims to tackle several open challenges in astrophysics, including understanding the speed and acceleration of the universe’s expansion.

UF To Play Key Role in Groundbreaking Laser Interferometer Space Antenna Mission

The University of Florida's Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering has partnered with NASA to develop hardware that will fly on the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) mission being led by the European Space Agency (ESA). UF is the only academic institution in the United States to be awarded a contract to develop hardware to fly on the LISA mission, which is set to launch in the mid-2030s. The mission will see three spacecraft orbit the sun with the goal of advancing the understanding of the universe and explore the origin and evolution of black holes. UF's Precision Space Systems Laboratory will develop the Charge Management Device for the mission.

UF Scientists Probe the Cosmos With the New James Webb Space Telescope

The James Webb Space Telescope launched on Christmas Day, 2021, and the instrument was so complex that it took months for us to peer through the new telescope. Then in July of 2022 we got our first look at images from the most advanced space observatory ever made. The telescope’s data will transform how we understand our universe, and University of Florida astronomers and physicists are on the vanguard of these discoveries.

A First: Scientists Grow Plants in Soil From the Moon

Scientists have grown plants in soil from the moon, a first in human history and a milestone in lunar and space exploration. In a new paper published in the journal “Communications Biology,” University of Florida researchers showed that plants can successfully sprout and grow in lunar soil. Their study also investigated how plants respond biologically to the moon’s soil, also known as lunar regolith, which is radically different from soil found on Earth.

Rob Ferl Receives NASA Exceptional Public Service Medal

Rob Ferl, distinguished professor in the UF/IFAS horticultural sciences department and assistant vice president for UF research, has received one of NASA’s most prestigious honors, the Exceptional Public Service Medal.

UF Plant Experiment Flies on Virgin Galactic Spaceship

UF project, funded by NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program, was the only science experiment on the Virgin Galactic mission, meant to study the impact the transition to and from zero gravity has on gene expression in cells, and, more broadly, to develop protocols for “human-tended” suborbital flights.