Lab Notes

Scouting for life on Mars

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In 2012, a Dutch foundation called Mars One announced plans to establish a permanent human colony on Mars, with the first settlers...

Drifting in space and time

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In 1916, Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity predicted ripples in the fabric of space known as gravitational waves. Just as accelerating...

Naming the stars

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The holiday season is a peak time for companies that sell the novelty gift of “naming a star,” with a framed certificate...

Predicting seasons of the sun

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Although you might take it for granted that the sun is extremely stable over time, the star at the center of our...

Tracking wildfire smoke

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It’s already been a challenging wildfire season in Colorado, with crews currently battling four major fires around the state. Driven by an...

Developing a NASA mission

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Imagine spending years coming up with an exciting idea for a space telescope, proposing it to NASA, and getting approval to develop...

Comet ATLAS shrugs

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In late December 2019, a telescope in Hawaii operated by the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) discovered a comet on its...

Crowding the night sky

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I n mid-March, SpaceX launched 60 satellites into orbit 340 miles above the surface of the Earth, part of...

Living with a star

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Just after Christmas 2019, a NASA spacecraft soared past Venus toward the inner solar system, and near the end of January 2020,...

Voluntary depopulation

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During the first two weeks of December, delegates from around the world are meeting in Madrid for the latest round of international...

Cheating extinction

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When a huge space-rock fell from the sky 66 million years ago, it quickly brought an end to the age of the...

Chasing Arctic ice

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In late September, Swedish activist Greta Thunberg led the largest global climate strike in history, inspiring 7.6 million people in 185...