• The Nuts and Bolts

    The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter launched on August 12, and when it arrives at Mars it will search for evidence of water in the martian atmosphere, surface, and subsurface. This orbiter also will provide detailed surveys of the planet, identifying any obstacles that could jeopardize the safety of future landers and rovers.

  • Deciphering Mars: The Current Decade

    At the recent Earth System Processes II conference, Farmer gave a talk on the current state of understanding about Mars: what we know and what we’d like to know. In this, the second of a three-part series, he discusses what scientists have learned from recent NASA and ESA missions to the red planet.

  • Sunshine on Comets

    Jessica Sunshine is the Deep Impact mission scientist responsible for the onboard infrared spectrometer. In the first half of this two-part interview, she discusses what the comet’s nucleus looked like before and after impact, and explains why it’s so difficult to piece together the spectroscopic data.

  • Stardust’s Return

    Samples of the comet Wild 2 will come down to Earth on January 15, 2006. But what kind of shape will they be in? Worries about the sample return capsule’s parachutes – and memories of the Genesis mission – add nail-biting drama to the event.

  • Mars Not So Wet?

    A region of Mars that some planetary scientists believe was once a shallow lakebed and likely habitable for life may not have been so wet after all, according to a new University of Colorado at Boulder study.

  • Deciphering Mars: Follow the Water

    At the recent Earth System Processes II conference, Farmer gave a talk on the current state of understanding about Mars: what we know and what we’d like to know. In this, the first of a three-part series, he explains why “following the water” is central to NASA’s program of Mars exploration.

  • By Design

    Brother Guy Consolmagno, astronomer to the Vatican, discusses his views of the controversy over intelligent design, as well as the historical clashes between science and religion.

  • Sunshine on Comets

    Jessica Sunshine is the Deep Impact mission scientist responsible for the onboard infrared spectrometer. In the second half of this two-part interview, she discusses whether Deep Impact has altered our ideas of how comets are formed and how important they’ve been in Earth’s history.

  • SETI and the Cosmic Quarantine Hypothesis

    How many technically advanced civilizations exist in our galaxy? With this essay by Steven Soter, Scientist-in-Residence in the Center for Ancient Studies at New York University, Astrobiology Magazine initiates the first in a series of ‘Gedanken’, or thought, experiments – musings by noted scientists on scientific mysteries in a series of “what if” scenarios.

  • Methane on Earth

    In recent years, new information — all of it relevant to the Mars debate — has emerged about both biological and non-biological sources of Earth’s methane.