July 3, 2017

Preserving specimens in situ for future researchers

There’s an old joke that there were five paleoanthropologists for every hominin fossil. It’s based partly on truth, which should give you an idea of the rarity of such finds. A major part of what we...

Biosphere 2

March 28, 2017

Human Mars Expeditions: Psychiatric Emergency Could be a Significant Danger

At center stage in any type of space colony is the issue of the human mind. Who is most likely to remain mentally healthy and for how long and what stressors, or series of events, can...

Venus exploration

March 14, 2017

Colonization of the Venusian Clouds: Is ‘Surfacism’ Clouding Our Judgement?

A 1969 Star Trek episode features a floating sky city called Stratus, whose residents believe they are superior to people who live down on their planet’s surface, but real humans advocating for off-world colonization today may...

Bird building nest

March 7, 2017

Social Learning in Animals: Implications for the Evolution of Human Intelligence

Cross-posted with the permission of Prof. Nathan H. Lents, originally posted at The Human Evolution Blog.   The human capacity to learn exceeds that of any other animal. Indeed, our massive memories and impressive computing power are the...

Habitable zone

February 28, 2017

Goldilocks and the Seven Dwarfs: Exoplanet Discovery is a Sample of What’s to Come

Not 30 years ago, there was no evidence of any planet outside our Solar System and now over 3,400 such worlds have been confirmed. These include dozens of Earth-sized –many orbiting in the “Goldilocks zone” of...

February 21, 2017

Human Germline Modification: A Frontier for Biotechnology, or A Target for Prohibitions?

The prospect of human germline modification got a boost in mid-February, with a National Academies for Science and Medicine recommendation that genome editing to preventing genetic diseases in future generations should be permissible. The recommendation came...

February 9, 2017

From Our Archives: Celebrating African Americans in STEM – Katherine Johnson

To celebrate National African American History Month, we applaud Katherine G. Johnson, a living legend in the fields of math, physics, and space science. A lifelong love affair with numbers brought Johnson from a small town...

Color electron microscope image

December 28, 2016

2016 Year in Science

As 2016 comes to a close, here’s a selection of six significant science stories (by no means a complete list) for the year: Gravitational Waves Detected Arguably the biggest science story of the year is the announcement...

December 21, 2016

Hazards of Mars exploration demand top-notch wilderness medicine capabilities

If you’re considering becoming an early Mars colonist, the National Geographic Channel’s new TV series MARS is a must to watch. That’s partly because it shows you that settlers will not inhabit lavish domes on the...

December 9, 2016

John Glenn 1921-2016: NASA astronaut, US Senator, medical guinea pig, all around cool person

2016 saw public criticism that candidates pushing their early 70s would be too old to serve as US President, but 18 years ago a man took on the grueling physical stress of space flight at the age...