If this issue is any clue, 2018 may be the Year of Space. Our pages are packed with a surprising wealth of content for astronomy lovers, and anyone who dreams of otherworldly encounters.
In our cover story, astronomy writer Lisa Grossman reports on the race to Mars. SpaceX announced last year that it plans to get people to the Red Planet by 2024, but the battle over what humans’ arrival would mean for the search for life on Mars will probably reach a fever pitch this year. Researchers are already exploring the dangers that hitchhiking microbes from Earth would pose to potential alien life, as well as the risk of alien microbes to the health of human astronauts. Expect more experiments that try to fill in the knowledge gaps after a meeting