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The Human Footprint on Mars is Expanding...Sometimes Faster Than We'd Like

It will be a long time until humans put boots on Mars--at least until the 2030s and possibly a long longer, depending on what the incoming Trump administration thinks about NASA's unfunded exploration plans.

On TV: A Tale of Two Red Planets

I'll confess, I came to Mars, the new National Geographic miniseries that debuted last night, with a good dose of skepticism.

Living and Dying With a Comet

Like many other space enthusiasts around the world, I woke up today in a bittersweet mood as I read the reports about the death of the European Space Agency's Rosetta comet probe.

The Race to Proxima Centauri (Part 1)

Sometimes it takes a while for the meaning of a new scientific discovery to really sink in. In the case of the planet Proxima Centauri b, announced last week, it may take decades or even centuries to fully grasp the importance of what we have found.

The Race to Proxima Centauri

Sometimes it takes a while for the full meaning of a new scientific discovery to sink in. In the case of the planet Proxima Centauri b, announced last week, the process may take decades or even centuries.

How Astronomers Plan to Solve the Mystery of the "Alien Megastructure Star"

If you look in enough places, eventually you'll find something profoundly strange. That’s been a reliable rule of thumb through the history of science, and last year it proved dramatically true again for astronomer Tabetha Boyajian.

How We'll Solve the Mystery of the "Alien Megastructure Star"

An interview with Tabetha Boyajian, the Yale astronomer who discovered the flickering star KIC 8462852, better known as Tabby's Star, or better yet known as the "alien megastructure star"--an object so strange that some scientists openly suggested that it might be obscured by an enormous artificial structure.

Getting Under the Alien Skin of the New 'Independence Day'

If you are looking for cerebral science fiction stories that meticulously explore the outer limits of known science, Roland Emmerich is not your guy.

The Billionaire and the Doomsday Dust-up

First of all, let me reassure you that this post has nothing at all to do with Donald Trump. The billionaire in question is not the presidential candidate but Nathan Myhrvold, the former chief technology officer at Microsoft.

To Planet 9 and Beyond: An Interview with Mike Brown

I mean no disrespect when I say that Mike Brown is a man on the edge. In fact, it is one of the highest forms of praise I can imagine.

The Solar System is a-Changing

When I was a kid and got hooked on astronomy (sometime around age 7), one of the things I deeply enjoyed about the night sky was its constancy.

The Solar System is a-Changing

When I was a kid and got hooked on astronomy (sometime around age 7), one of the things I deeply enjoyed about the night sky was its constancy.

Hunting Ghosts Across the Cosmos

The recent discovery of gravitational waves by the twin LIGO detectors drove home the gaping chasm between the popular image of how astronomers explore the cosmos and the way it actually happens.

A Little Perspective on the New "9th Planet" (and the 10th, and the 11th)

By now you've probably heard the announcement that astronomers Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown think they’ve tracked down “Planet 9,” a long-rumored large world orbiting in the distant wilderness of the solar system.

A Little Perspective on the New "9th Planet" (and the 10th, and the 11th)

By now you've probably heard the announcement that astronomers Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown think they’ve tracked down “Planet 9,” a long-rumored large world orbiting far beyond Pluto.

Best of 2015: The Idiot's Guide to Pluto

What was the biggest news in astronomy this past year? The editorial board of Discover has helpfully provided an answer, one that I heartily endorse (and not only because I wrote the related story in the magazine): It was the exploration of Pluto by the New Horizons spacecraft.

What I'm Thankful For: The Science and Technology Edition

It can feel inappropriate celebrating the exploration of the universe while the media are saturated with grim stories about warfare, terrorism, and other forms of human suffering.

The Designer Behind the Greatest Fake-Mars Mission Ever

With its strong showing at the box office, The Martian joins Gravity and Interstellar in the club of science-fiction movies that succeed by emphasizing the science and downplaying the anything-goes fantasy elements.

The Designer Behind the Greatest Fake-Mars Mission Ever

With its terrific performance at the box office, The Martian joins Gravity and Interstellar in the club of science-fiction movies that succeed by emphasizing the science and downplaying the anything-goes fantasy elements.

How to Build the Machine That Will Find Another Living Earth

The 20-year stretch since the discovery of the first exoplanet—a planet circling a star other than the sun—has seen a wholesale relocation of cool ideas from science fiction over to science fact.


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