Feature Stories

  • Killer Lakes: Part I
    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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  • Endurance, Over the Precipice
    Opportunity scientists got their first look over the rim of Endurance crater, a remnant from an earlier time in martian history and about seven times larger than where the rover landed in Eagle crater.
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  • Three Tough Questions
    When does asking the right questions tell more than necessarily knowing the right answers? Perhaps when crossing the fertile boundary between biology and astronomy.
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  • Titan, the Enigmatic Moon
    New ground-based observations of Titan have identified three bright atmospheric regions. These spots may help explain what this oil-rich moon may offer the latest probe in just a few months when Cassini begins to orbit around Saturn.
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  • Battle of Bounce Rock
    When the Opportunity rover bounced off the only decent-sized object in view, scientists had a debate over whether they had landed on a rock or meteorite. They also had to consider whether their own hardware was dotting the landscape.
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  • Matching Mars to Meteorites
    Members of the Mars mission team have reported that a striking similarity has been found between meteorites found in Antarctica and one rock called 'Bounce' now being probed on the surface. 'Bounce' sits in the otherwise rockless Meridiani Planum.
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  • New Planet, Magnified
    The gravity of a star can act as a lens, focusing and intensifying the light of a star behind it. The combined light from the two stars causes that point in the night sky to suddenly appear much brighter. For the first time, a
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  • Biology Hanging By A Thread?
    On Opportunity rover's 19th day on Mars, a strange thread-like feature was photographed in microscopic view. In an attempt to understand the Mars' thread, the science and engineering team set out to simulate it on Earth.
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  • Mars, King of the Hill
    As both rovers get new software shipped from Earth, the mission to Mars has settled into a series of long drives towards distant hills. While Spirit goes for Columbia Hills, Opportunity will challenge itself to reach Endurance Crater.
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  • Starfield of Dreams
    Should we terraform Mars? What is the future of life on Earth? Will we ever find alien life? These are just a few of the questions addressed at the 2004 Astrobiology Science Conference.
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  • Delayed Gratification Zones
    In 4 billion years, the sun will become a red giant star. While that's sad news for Earth, the icy planets in the most distant regions of our solar system will bask in the warmth of the sun for the first time.
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  • Ashes of the Phoenix
    What had become the first systematic attempt to search for another world's intelligent radio communications has wound down. Project Phoenix will transition to more advanced search methods, but its pioneering status has become part of history.
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  • Methane on Mars?
    Two ground-based telescopes probing the question, 'is there methane on Mars?', first gave intriguing results. Now as confirmed by the orbiting Mars Express, the hint of martian methane raises a few more questions since methane, as one of four biologically-important gases, does not survive for
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  • Mars, the Evocative Garbage
    Using cameras from orbit and on the surface, scientists have been able to find debris from all parts of the rovers' descent and operations. Leaving behind space hardware as these mobile laboratories travel towards the horizon gives pause to reflect on them as 'messages
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  • Around the Hills in 90 Sols
    The Mars Spirit rover will soon turn its first three months on the surface into an extended mission schedule. The team that had to rotate their sleep and work cycles to accomodate the longer martian days will get relief.
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