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Airplanes Could Unlock Mars Mysteries
Topic: Mars
There are regions on Mars where the ground is much too rugged for a rover to explore. Instead, a robotic, rocket-powered airplane could be the ideal way to investigate some of these intriguing but as-yet inaccessible areas.

Stepping Stones through Time
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
Stromatolites are the most ancient fossils on Earth, and these structures built by microbes can still be found forming today in various places around the globe. Although they provide a straight line of life´s history from the past to the present, comparing modern and ancient stromatolites is not a straight-forward endeavor.

Astronomer Seeks ET Machines
Topic: Alien Life
If we ever do receive a message from outer space, we´ll want to know what kind of aliens sent it. SETI researcher Seth Shostak says we shouldn´t expect them to be anything like us – in fact, they might not be biological at all, but instead, extraterrestrial machines.

Synthetic Life Could Aid Space Exploration
Topic: Moon to Mars
When packing for a manned mission to Mars or the Moon, the best thing to bring may not be food or fuel, but specially-designed organisms that can create those things for you.

Cyborgs Needed for Escape from Earth
Topic: Robotics & A.I.
As the growing global population continues to increase the burden on the Earth´s natural resources, some historians and scientists think humans should prepare to colonize space. The problem is, we may have to alter human biology significantly to achieve that goal.

How Microbes Could Help Colonize Mars
Topic: Moon to Mars
Tiny rock-eating microbes could mine precious extraterrestrial resources from Mars and pave the way for the first human colonists, but would take much longer to help transform the red planet via terraforming.

Tracking Viruses Back in Time
Topic: Extreme Life
How long have viruses been around? No one knows. Scientists at Portland State University have begun taking the first steps toward answering this question.

Setting Sail in the Sun
Topic: Missions
Propelled by sunlight pressure, large lightweight sails made of ultrathin aluminum-coated plastic could one day take probes to the edge of our solar system and other stars.

Mud Volcanoes on Mars
Topic: Mars
Spewing out material from deep underground, geological structures on Mars thought to be mud volcanoes could give scientists the clues they need to determine if life exists, or ever existed, on the Red Planet.

Where in the World is Europa?
Topic: Europa
Before they can be sent out to explore planets or moons, rovers first need to be tested in the field. While there is no perfect analog for Jupiter´s icy moon Europa, there are various spots on Earth and elsewhere that are similar enough to conduct trial runs.
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