Essays

  • 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
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  • Tulips on the Moon
    Bernard Foing, Project Scientist for the lunar satellite SMART-1, discusses the steps we need to take to develop bases on the Moon. Growing flowers is one step towards making the lunar desert an oasis for human life.
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  • Earth’s Childhood Attic
    The moon is sometimes referred to as Earth's childhood attic, a rich repository of what the early terrestrial geology might have promised prior to the advent of life. Europe's Chief Scientist, Bernard Foing, looks at what the moon can tell us about our past.
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  • The Smart One
    Bernard Foing, Chief Scientist for the European Space Agency, kicks off a regular essay series exclusive to Astrobiology Magazine. In this part, he takes a tour of the novel ion propulsion employed by the current lunar orbiter, SMART-1.
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  • Tides of Tectonic Forces
    Science-fiction author, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, provides perspective on the tsunami disaster from his home in Sri Lanka. As one of the first to call for global satellite networks in 1945, his half-century legacy has played a key role in mitigating tragedies that offered few
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  • Neo-Tugboats
    In an open letter, Apollo 9 astronaut Russell Schweickart questions whether a non-nuclear option for asteroid deflection isn't the more prudent path.
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  • Spooky Spaceflight
    Once derided by Einstein as "spooky action at a distance", quantum entanglement could hold out the promise of a novel means of space propulsion, perhaps even making interstellar travel feasible.
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  • Dirty Dozen Wheels Down
    Steve Squyres summarizes his first half-year on Mars, as the mission progressed from first images to twelve wheels roaming the red planet.
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  • Moon to Mars: What’s Beyond?
    A blue-ribbon Presidential Commission has released its research findings on how best to get exploration initiatives aligned to a future moon or Mars agenda. Their results highlight the educational potential and the significance of living off the land as humans go where robots have pioneered.
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  • Hayabusa Rounds Earth
    The Japanese mission to return asteroid samples to Earth performed a successful flyby of our home planet and moon, while this first-of-a-kind probe picked up speed towards its ultimate destination beyond Mars.
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  • Earth’s Radio-Wave Halo
    The Allen Telescope Array, planned for completion in the next few years, promises a robust and novel use of off-the-shelf radio dishes. Deployed in northern California, this dish array is one intriguing technology that Dr. Jilll Tarter describes.
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  • Search for Life in the Universe II
    In this two-part essay, Director of the Hayden Planetarium, Neil deGrasse Tyson, reflects on the scientific and cultural implications of finding life elsewhere in the cosmos.
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  • Search for Life in the Universe I
    In this two-part essay, Director of the Hayden Planetarium, Neil deGrasse Tyson, reflects on the scientific and cultural implications of finding life elsewhere in the cosmos.
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  • Anybody Out There? Part II
    Famed neurologist Oliver Sacks is the author of many books, including "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat" and "Uncle Tungsten". In this second of a two-part essay on astrobiology, Dr. Sacks muses on the possibility of life on other worlds.
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  • Anybody Out There? Part I
    Renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks is the author of many books, including "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat" and "Uncle Tungsten". In this first of a two-part essay on astrobiology, Dr. Sacks discusses his early fascination with the possibility of
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