Feature Stories

  • SkyNet Autonomy
    Detecting changes in the biosphere from orbiting satellites can involve tedious sifting through stacks of digital images. Letting a satellite screen the incoming pictures may hold promise for detecting autonomously how the Earth is changing.
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  • Rockhard Stardust
    Scientists thought most comets were "fluffy" snowballs -- piles of icy rubble that were loosely bound together. But Wild-2 has a solid, cohesive surface carved into lofty pinnacles, deep canyons and broad mesas.
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  • Spirit finds its Pot of Gold
    After a two-month drive, the Spirit rover finally got to the Columbia Hills, where mission scientists have found signs of the iron-rich blueberries that first hinted at the planet's water-history.
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  • Flying by Phoebe
    The Cassini-Huygens spacecraft is nearing the giant ringed planet Saturn. It will orbit Saturn for the next several years, sending back scientific information about the planet and its rings and moons. Later this year, Cassini will release the Huygens probe to descend through the atmosphere
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  • Earliest Bilateral Fossil Discovered
    Scientists have reported that bilateral animals appeared 600 million years ago, about 50 million years before the Cambrian Explosion.
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  • On the Road
    NASA's Spirit rover is more than halfway through its one-mile trek to the Columbia Hills. Already, Spirit has logged the longest journey ever taken by a human-built robot across the surface of another world. The rover is racing toward the hills as fast as it
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  • Young Planet Challenges Old Theories
    The Spitzer Space Telescope has detected youngest planet ever found, claim NASA scientists. Planets are thought to take millions of years to form after a star is born, but discovery of a million-year old star with planet already in orbit around it means scientists may
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  • Mars: All Dressed Up
    Once a human mission to Mars hits the drawing boards, the challenge of radiation protection will come down to what many consider high-tech suit designs. A student view of what technologies are available today is offered from the University of Alberta.
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  • Pebbles from an Overheated Earth?
    The current understanding is that life evolved in a dramatically different environment than exists today. One way primordia differs depends on the carbon dioxide level for the early Earth. Pebbles from a South African goldmine may lock those secrets into their geological makeup.
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  • Titan’s Big Future in Plastics
    Titan, Saturn's hydrocarbon-rich moon, appears to host oil lakes and the raw materials for making organics. Those organics may serve as precursors to plastics, or possibly simple biomolecules.
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  • Nanobes: A New Form of Life?
    How small can life be? There are natural limits based on the building block size of a cell like the DNA molecule or a protein-synthesizing ribosome. But work published from the Mayo Clinic suggests that living creatures may come in smaller packets than previously imagined.
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  • Piecing Together a Permian Impact
    The largest extinction event in the history of life has been tied to an Australian crater called the Bedout crater now dated to be 250.7 million years old. There are several lines of evidence that indicate the Bedout crater was caused by a meteor impact
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  • Second Opportunity
    NASA's Opportunity rover has reached the rim of Endurance Crater and sent back an impressive panoramic image. The crater contains large bedrock outcrops that scientists believe are older than the outcrop at Eagle Crater and formed through a different geologic process.
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  • Killer Lakes: Part II
    Defusing Africa's killer lakes in a remote region of Cameroon, an international team of scientists takes extraordinary steps to prevent the recurrence of a deadly natural disaster. This three part excerpt gives a first-hand account of global climate change by award-winning science journalist, Kevin Krajick.
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  • Killer Lakes: Part III
    Defusing Africa's killer lakes in a remote region of Cameroon, an international team of scientists takes extraordinary steps to prevent the recurrence of a deadly natural disaster. This three part excerpt gives a first-hand account of global climate change by award-winning science journalist, Kevin Krajick.
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