Essays

    • News_Image_1256
      During a spacewalk on July 16, astronaut Luca Parmitano's spacesuit malfunctioned and filled with water, nearly drowning him. In this essay, he provides a chilling first person account of his near-death experience.
      more...
    • News_Image_330
      A Mars sample return mission has been a goal of NASA for decades. In a recent essay, Lou Friedman, former Executive Director of The Planetary Society, discussed the potential of pursuing such an ambitious project in the coming years.
      more...
    • News_Image_272
      In this essay, David Schwartzman explains how we can communicate with intelligent aliens, finally making planet Earth a member of the Galactic Club.
      more...
    • News_Image_252
      Volcanoes play a major role in Earth's climate, as evidenced by the recent eruption in Iceland. Some volcanic activity that isn't quite as visible, like the ocean's version of the La Brea Tarpits off the Santa Barbara coast, also has an effect on life.
      more...
    • News_Image_157
      Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter... the names of planets in our solar system read like a "Who´s Who" of ancient mythology. What should we call the planets we find beyond our solar system?
      more...
    • News_Image_72
      The oceans are a vital resource for human society - and for the biosphere of Earth as a whole. However, climate change is have some dramatic effects on our oceans and seas. Increases in events like algal blooms are now being tied to global warming.
      more...
    • News_Image_70
      Fires are a normal and healthy part of the natural cycle - yet the severity of duration of fire seasons seem to be on the rise. This could be due to a drier, warmer climate in some parts of the world resulting from changes in
      more...
    • News_Image_204
      Astrobiology Magazine's climate blog, The Hot Zone, discusses the interconnection of Earth's natural systems and how vulnerable this makes us to the forces of nature. From violent earthquakes to thinning glaciers, we are only beginning to understand how our biosphere, climate and planet interact.
      more...
    • Fiction´s Most Realistic Vision of Our Astrobiological Future?
      Visionary science writer Sir Arthur C Clarke, author of more than 100 books, died recently at the age of 90 in Sri Lanka. Once called ‘the first dweller in the electronic cottage´, his vision of an astrobiological future and its technology captured the popular imagination.
      more...
    • NASA’s Astrobiology Origins
      Ten years ago, a new NASA program dedicated to the science of Astrobiology was born.
      more...
    • If We Had No Moon
      In this essay, Bernard Foing looks at the effect the Moon has had on the Earth, and explores how different our world would be if we had no planetary companion.
      more...
    • Are Planetary Systems Filled to Capacity?  (part 2)
      In this essay, Steven Soter examines computer experiments that simulate the gravitational interactions among planets over billions of years. These models suggest that the solar system is only marginally stable and is dynamically full, or nearly so. Adding another planet between the existing ones
      more...
    • Are Planetary Systems Filled to Capacity?
      In part one of this two-part essay, Steven Soter explains that planetary systems, including our own, hold as many planets as they can, and adding more planets may make them unstable.
      more...
    • Pale Blue Dot III: An Astrobiological Field Report
      In this essay, David Grinspoon provides an overview of the "Pale Blue Dot III" workshop recently held in Chicago. While the overall scientific theme of the workshop was finding habitable Earthlike planets around other stars, communicating that science to the general public was also
      more...
    • Returning to Sample Mars
      At the Viking thirtieth anniversary celebration, Noel Hinners pushed for a Mars Sample Return mission. "The science imperative for Mars Sample Return is equally compelling to what Viking was looking for," said Hinners, "and in many ways associated with some of the same goals
      more...