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Stories by Lee Billings

Hubble's Repairman Reflects on the Telescope's Legacy

Twenty-five years ago, on April 24, 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope soared into orbit. Since then, its great discoveries have been legion, and the story of how it became the most successful and productive astronomical observatory in human history is destined to become legendary.

April 24, 2015 — Lee Billings

Martian Glaciers Equal Meter-Thick Planetary Ice Shell

Radar measurements and models of Earthly glacial ice flows led researchers to conclude that the glaciers spotted on Mars from orbiters contain nearly 150 billion cubic meters of water. Lee Billings reports   

 

April 13, 2015 — Lee Billings
Supermassive Black Holes Make Merging Galaxies Green

Supermassive Black Holes Make Merging Galaxies Green

Green as a color can mean animal, vegetable or mineral. It is the stuff of crocodiles, chlorophyll and copper patina, the essence of serpentine or of snakes in the grass, the hue of a glacial lake, a stagnant pond and the Chicago River on St.

April 3, 2015 — Lee Billings
Against April Fools' in Science Journalism

Against April Fools' in Science Journalism

My lowest point as a science journalist came before I even knew what a science journalist was. I was a young punk in an eighth-grade science class at Northwood Middle School in Greenville, South Carolina

April 1, 2015 — Lee Billings
After a Martian Marathon, NASA's Opportunity Rover Faces Uncertain Future

After a Martian Marathon, NASA's Opportunity Rover Faces Uncertain Future

It's been a long time coming, but this week NASA's Mars Opportunity rover completed the first-ever Martian marathon. After landing on the Red Planet in January 2004 on a mission originally planned to only last 90 days, Opportunity has instead endured for more than a decade, and has taken eleven years and two months to [...]

March 25, 2015 — Lee Billings

That's What Ya Call a 4-Star Planet

Astronomers report the discovery of only the second quadruple-star system known to host at least one planet. But they suspect there are a lot more such systems out there. Lee Billings reports
 

March 19, 2015 — Lee Billings
Looking for Life In Our Soggy Solar System

Looking for Life In Our Soggy Solar System

Scientists are finding liquid water, the cornerstone for life as we know it, in surprising nooks and crannies of the solar system. Following Wednesday's news that there seem to be hydrothermal vents churning away in the warm, alkaline seas inside Saturn's moon Enceladus, researchers announced airtight evidence yesterday that Jupiter's moon Ganymede also has a [...]

March 13, 2015 — Lee Billings