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Tricksy Mars may be Obscuring Signs of Organic Matter

Picture a hot volcanic spring. Mineral-laden acidic water flows through sulfur-rich rocks. A foul odor hangs in the air. For us it’s a nasty environment, best enjoyed through the lens of a tourist’s camera...

February 24, 2015 — Caleb A. Scharf
Titan Loses its Speckles

Titan Loses its Speckles

Some of the most stunning images of Saturn’s moon Titan are made using a synthetic aperture radar to penetrate the thick atmosphere to see the frigid surface.

February 16, 2015 — Caleb A. Scharf

The Great Martian Storm of ’71

                          On November 14th 1971 NASA’s Mariner 9 became the first spacecraft to successfully orbit another planet...

October 21, 2013 — Caleb A. Scharf
Quantum Shorts 2014 Winners [Video]

Quantum Shorts 2014 Winners [Video]

The word "quantum" describes something very small but interest in the topic looms large for many of us at Scientific American. So we were pleased this year to partner again with the Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore on the Quantum Shorts 2014 Contest...

April 27, 2015 — Mariette DiChristina
A Paper Puppet Homage to Microbes

A Paper Puppet Homage to Microbes

The amazing power duo of Flora Lichtman and Sharon Shattuck (Sweet Fern Productions) has come out with a new animated short on the discovery of microbes.

November 23, 2014 — Carin Bondar

Are Scientists on the Cusp of Knowing How Weird We Are?

I’m writing this post for two reasons. One is to recommend a new book by Columbia astrobiologist Caleb Scharf (who also writes a terrific Scientific American blog, “Life, Unbounded“), and the other is to defend an old book of mine...

November 21, 2014 — John Horgan
Generation Open: Sneak Peek Into Science’s Future at OpenCon 2014

Generation Open: Sneak Peek Into Science’s Future at OpenCon 2014

“What is your generation going to do? You don’t have a choice. You will make a mark. Will it be the mark of apathy? Or will you make the internet what it could be?” Michael Carroll is a Professor of Law and one of the founders of the Creative Commons...

November 16, 2014 — Hilda Bastian

That Comet? That's You, 4.5 Billion Years Ago

As the European Space Agency’s Philae lander bounced and settled onto the surface of comet 67P/C-G’s crumbly nucleus it wasn’t just space exploration, it was time travel...

November 13, 2014 — Caleb A. Scharf

The Black Hole in Interstellar Looks Amazingly Realistic

Wired has a fun piece about physicist and black-hole guru Kip Thorne's work on the film Interstellar, which comes out November 7. We've known the premise of the film for a long time: Earth is a disaster, the human race is on the verge of extinction, and mankind must find a new home...

October 23, 2014 — Seth Fletcher
Culture Dish: Promoting Diversity in Science Writing

Culture Dish: Promoting Diversity in Science Writing

The most persistent — and infuriating — question about diversity in science writing has to be: "Why do we need diversity?" Sometimes that question is followed by this: "Isn't science color-blind?" To answer that second question first — no, science is most definitely not color-blind, any more than history or politics or literature is color-blind...

October 15, 2014 — Apoorva Mandavilli & Nidhi Subbaraman

Planet Hunters Bet Big on a Small Telescope to See Alien Earths

In 1990, NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft briefly looked back from its journey out of the solar system, capturing a view of the faraway Earth. Carl Sagan called it the "pale blue dot." From more than 6 billion kilometers away, beyond the orbit of Pluto, it seemed remarkable that our planet was even visible...

January 27, 2015 — Lee Billings

NASA's Dawn Mission Captures New Image of Dwarf Planet Ceres

NASA’s Dawn mission, having performed remarkably at the asteroid Vesta, is homing in on Ceres. The spacecraft’s ion engines will bring it to a capture orbit around this 590 mile diameter dwarf planet on March 6th, 2015 – at a distance some 2.5 times further from the Sun than the Earth...

January 20, 2015 — Caleb A. Scharf
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Scientific American Health & Medicine

Scientific American Health & Medicine