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Why Go to Mars

So much of what drives cosmic exploration involves the quest to learn whether or not we're alone in the Universe. But that's not the only reason to go to Mars. Find out others from Neil deGrasse Tyson.

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Visions (and Revisions) of Mars

The invention of the telescope in the 17th century provided scientists with unprecedented, yet hazy, images of Mars. Some observers saw canals; others saw diagrams drawn for "interplanetary communication."

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When Worlds Diverge

For all their similarities, Mars possesses unique geophysical traits — traits that early on set Mars on a developmental path distinct from Earth's.

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Is the Signature Still Wet?

A series of satellite photographs taken by NASA's Mars Global Surveyor, which has been mapping Mars since 1999, raise the exciting possibility that liquid water may have existed there very recently.

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Essay: Stars in Exquisite Accuracy

There’s only one star that astronomers have a firm grasp on: the Sun. Fundamental facts about other stars remain elusive. Find out how a powerful interferometer atop Mount Wilson in Southern California hopes to change that.

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The Enigma of High Energy Cosmic Rays

In 1912, Viktor Hess took to the sky in a hot-air balloon and discovered a radioactive energy now called “cosmic rays.” Travel to Argentina to see how scientists now hope to discover at long last where the highest-energy cosmic rays are coming from.

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Article: GRACE Watches Earth's Water

Earth's water is in constant motion. It cycles through the planet's atmosphere, surface, and depths. This water cycle is fundamental to Earth’s climate — and is being dramatically affected by global warming.

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Shaping a Continent: Version 1.0

Discover how scientists are now marrying traditional fieldwork with cutting-edge computer modeling to produce the first animated, theoretical picture of the Basin and Range Province's geological evolution.

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Article: Follow the Magma

In 1669, the fastest and largest lava flow documented for Mount Etna on the island of Sicily killed most of Catania's 20,000 residents and destroyed much of the city. Why are scientists now watching Etna more than any other volcano in Europe? Find out.

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Article: Earth Without Oxygen

Where would the world be without oxygen? While it's hard to imagine an Earth without it, for nearly the first half of the planet's 4.5-billion-year history, Earth had no oxygen gas as part of its atmosphere.

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