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The reality of being able to live and settle on Martian or lunar bases can seem like it is getting close. To do this, we need to be able to grow our own food there. This is a category of space agriculture called in-situ resource utilization, a fancy way of saying “using what is already there instead of bringing…

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Whether it is the acceptance of different passions, backgrounds, or even favorite movies, diversity matters. A group of ten researchers who noticed the positive correlation between motivation and academic success created the Ad Astra Academy to teach astrobiology abroad. They educated students from disadvantaged…

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Altruism, in principle, is selfless action for the well-being of others. Altruism may help us achieve our space exploration goals. Space agencies like NASA, SpaceX, and ESA  are funding new projects to commercialize asteroids, the Moon, and Mars. These projects could deliver economic  as well as scientific benefits…

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The Mars 2020 mission involves sending a rover, named Perseverance, to Mars to look for evidence of past life on that planet. Perseverance will collect samples of 3 billion year old rocks that scientists on Earth think might contain signs of ancient life on Mars. Later, NASA will launch a mission to retrieve those…

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Microbes on Earth have adapted to survive in some pretty extreme locations. The extreme dryness of deserts, high salinity in salt deposits, cold temperatures of glaciers, and even high pressures of the deep ocean don’t stop some life forms. Another extreme environment is created by a rock known as serpentinite. This…

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Here on Earth, scientists study layers of sediment like dirt and sand to better understand how rocks form. The same contextual clues geologists use to explain how sedimentary rocks form on Earth can also be applied to extraterrestrial planets. Recent studies of Mars, for example, have looked at photos of sedimentary…

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Humans have long been fascinated by the huge Cosmos above us. Perhaps this fascination has been best put to words by Carl Sagan in his influential book, Cosmos: “The Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be. Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us — there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the…