Let's get this over with once and for all: We are going to Mars. The only questions are: When? Who? How? Which way? And, of course, why?
Asteroids are leftover rocks from the creation of the Solar System 4.5 billion years ago.
Much to the delight of scientists and technicians, the frigid sky over the snow-covered Siberian fields and villages remained clear as dawn approached.
A rocket can be fixed. A mindset has to be changed or those holding it made irrelevant.
Asteroids can help us understand our cosmic neighborhood, are great mineral deposits, but also present potential risks for humanity. We require more investment in telescopes, research and technologies to keep us safe.
My childhood books on geology had dramatic drawings of volcanoes belching steam into the atmosphere of a prehistoric and still-sterile Earth, suggesting that our planet was born with a subcutaneous reserve of water, waiting to be lanced to the surface by accommodating eruptions. As a kid, that sure seemed reasonable. But it's not true.
Sometimes you have to change course to get on course. And the first small step in doing so may be to realize you didn't really know where you were going in the first place - and why.
We all love gold, but the best and fastest way to get more of it is by doing what we have been doing for thousands of years. Learn geology, get lucky, and hope for a gold vein!
Like the dinosaurs, we and our fellow denizens of Earth may become the amber curios of a future civilization that ponders how species once so prevalent came to such a swift demise.
I've always regarded asteroids as somewhat like dinosaurs: mildly interesting and faintly dangerous. But I'm now thinking that they might be a profitable real estate investment.
New research suggests a tantalizing hypothesis: that the dark matter in the Milky Way caused the mass extinction 65 million years ago that killed off the dinosaurs, as well as other mass extinctions, which seem to take place somewhat regularly, with a period of some 35 million years.
As someone who's taken a fair share of science classes, I know that it can be difficult to tie the daily homework assignments of configuring compounds in chemistry or calculating velocity in physics to a broader world perspective.
Last week, the first round of papers related to last year's spectacular asteroid explosion over Chelyabinsk, Russia, appeared. One of the most significant conclusions suggests that we may have underestimated the number of building-sized asteroids by up to a factor of 10.
It isn't statistically probable that we will encounter a supervolcanic eruption within the next century (or even millennia). But it isn't statistically probable that an asteroid will hit us either, and that doesn't stop us from preparing for the worst.
The Moon! Mars! Asteroids! Rockets! Helium 3! Space solar power! Space tourism! We go through fads, swarm around the hero de jour, and spend far too much time trashing the other guy's ideas in favor of our own.