Simulated image of Mars

MISSION TO MARS  By the 2030s, NASA and the aerospace industry want to send a crew to explore Mars, seen in this simulated image based on data from the Mars Global Surveyor orbiter.

Illustration of spacecraft flying by Europa

TARGET: EUROPA  Slamming a spent fuel tank into the surface of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa could vibrate the surface so much that a spacecraft flying by (shown in artist’s illustration) could see the tremors. Scientists might be able to analyze the tremors to gauge the thickness of the ice. 

solar flare

SUPERFLARE  Gusts of solar wind from the young sun produced life-supporting molecules, researchers propose. The solar flares probably compressed Earth’s magnetic field (blue lines) and sent particles raining into the atmosphere, as shown in this illustration. 

French cave

ANCIENT RING  A new study finds that Neandertals built structures out of stalagmites. Here, a researcher takes measurements of a circular arrangement of stalagmites created in a French cave around 176,500 years ago.



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