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Whether in Iceland or on Mars, Follow the Water

Bethany Ehlmann is touring with students in Iceland to learn more about the dynamic geological processes that mold and carve our planet in order to gain insight on other planets, particularly Mars. Crystals and underground rivers speak of the cycle of fire and ice.

Iceland: Raw, Rugged, and a Warm-Up for Mars

In Iceland, Bethany Ehlmann is touring with students to learn more about the dynamic geological processes that mold and carve our planet in order to learn about other planets, particularly Mars. Her expedition kicks off with some amazing sights and the threat of a nearby volcanic eruption imminent.

5 Sky Events This Week: Scorpius Eyes the Moon, and Jupiter Rises

The moon glides through the mythical scorpion’s claw and appears at its largest in the heavens for 2014. Lunar Lineup.  As darkness falls on Monday, August 4, the waxing gibbous moon, hanging in the low southwestern sky, is at the end of a cosmic lineup that includes Saturn, Mars, and Spica. Their distinct color differences—orange…

NASA Preps Mars Orbiters for Comet Close Encounter

A cometary near miss for Mars in a few months means meteor risks for NASA’s spacecraft orbiting the red planet. On October 19, the comet Siding Spring will brush by Mars, passing so close that the space agency this week announced it has put together a special playbook filled with protective measures for its orbiters there.…

NASA’s Next Mars Rover Will Make Oxygen

NASA’s next Mars rover will pack a suite of sensors, cameras and an oxygen brewing kit.

4 Sky Events This Week: Cosmic Dumbbell and Lunar Lineup

Moonless nights bring deep sky delights for skywatchers this week.

See Mars Map Landmarks for Yourself

A new Mars map makes a visual trip to the red planet possible for stargazers.

4 Sky Events This Week: Ringed Jewel and Cat’s Eye Sparkle

A Cat’s Eye stares back at skywatchers in this week’s star gazing showcase.

5 Sky Events This Week: Rare Celestial Shadow Dance and Leo Paws at the Moon

A brightening comet, Jupiter’s moons and a rendezvous with Mars fill out another exciting week in skywatching.

5 Sky Events This Week: Jovian Shadows, Lunar X, and Lord of the Rings

Sky-watchers keeping an eye on the moon may spot a special lunar landmark this week, while Saturn, the magnificent ringed planet, appears at its best for 2014. Jovian moon shadows. On Monday, May 5, look for Jupiter, the giant planet, to hang low in the western horizon at night. High magnification through small backyard telescopes…

5 Sky Events This Week: Full Lunar Eclipse and Lord of the Rings

This is a big week even for the most amateur of sky-watchers, with a rare full lunar eclipse and Mars getting as close as it ever does to Earth. Moon shadow play. The moon will appear to be orange-red late Monday night and early Tuesday morning as it undergoes a total eclipse, the first visible…

5 Sky Events This Week: Lunar Wall, Mars Up-Close, and a Blue Giant

Fantastic fault lines and planetary close encounters this week offer sky-watchers some impressive cosmic views of the heavens. The lunar wall. The first quarter moon, which comes into view on Monday, April 7, offers the best moment this month to view, in small telescopes, an amazing lunar feature called the lunar wall, or Rupes Recta (sometimes called the…

March 30, 2014: Skiing Everest, Mission Blue, Search for Michael Rockefeller, Violent Animal Reproduction, and More

Join radio host Boyd Matson every week for adventure, conservation and green science. This week his guests try to solve the mystery of the disappearance of Michael Rockefeller, figure out if Mother Nature is really trying to kill you, ski off the seven summits including Everest, look inside the city of Damascus during the Syrian War, dive into Mission Blue with Sylvia Earle, look at how much food we waste each year, take a walk on the surface of Mars, and find out what we should pack on a camping trip.

Powerful Jets From Mars-Bound Comet Spied by Hubble

After lurking in the outer reaches of the solar system for the past one million years, a comet is heading for a close encounter with Mars. The Hubble Space Telescope is keeping tabs on the icy interloper, seen in just-released images. Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring), which now lies some 353 million miles (568 million…

First Person: What I’m Learning on a Simulated Mars Mission

By Jim Urquhart for National Geographic “Mars has been flown by, orbited, smacked into, radar examined, and rocketed onto, as well as bounced upon, rolled over, shoveled, drilled into, baked, and even blasted. Still to come: Mars being stepped on.”—Buzz Aldrin In a remote stretch of Utah desert, five scientific researchers and one journalist, myself, came together this month…