When a Mars Simulation Goes Wrong

By Marina Koren The drive to the little white dome on the northern slope of Mauna Loa is a bumpy one. Mauna Loa, the “Long Mountain,” is a colossal volcano that covers half of the island of Hawaii. The rocky terrain, rusty brown and deep red, crunches beneath car tires and jostles passengers. Up there, more […]

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Writing Realistic Research Labs

By Jenny Ballif This article on writing realistic research labs is part of the Science in Sci-fi, Fact in Fantasy blog series. Each week, we tackle one of the scientific or technological concepts pervasive in sci-fi (space travel, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, etc.) with input from an expert. Please join the mailing list to be notified every time new content is posted. About the […]

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The Beautiful Scientist Problem

By J.K. Ullrich Indie authorship seems to have exacerbated my penchant for masochism: I can’t help looking at the bestseller lists, even though it only leaves me sad that my books aren’t on them! Browsing the top titles a few weeks ago, the blurb for Dan Brown’s latest novel Origin caught my eye. After reconnecting with one […]

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The Silurian Hypothesis

By Lorenzo Tanos The thought of dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures having proper names, working jobs to feed their families, and enjoying the trappings of technology is one that’s fueled many a children’s cartoon or fantasy story through the years. But with the proof of an intelligent civilization bound to get destroyed forever after millions […]

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Power Causes Brain Damage

By Jerry Useem If power were a prescription drug, it would come with a long list of known side effects. It can intoxicate. It can corrupt. It can even make Henry Kissinger believe that he’s sexually magnetic. But can it cause brain damage? When various lawmakers lit into John Stumpf at a congressional hearing last fall, each seemed to find […]

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How to Get to Mars Without Going Mad

By Andrew Masterson The technological challenges involved in sending a crewed mission to Mars are daunting, but new research highlights the need to focus on the psychology of spaceflight to prevent world’s first Mars explorers arriving at their destination stark raving crazy. A paper in the journal American Psychologist reviews the already extensive research done by NASA into […]

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Evolution, the Ice Age, and Mother’s Milk

By Leslea Hlusko As biologists explore the variation across the genomes of living people, they’ve found evidence of evolution at work. Particular variants of genes increase or decrease in populations through time. Sometimes this happens by chance. Other times these changes in frequency result from the gene’s helping or hindering individuals’ survival, a phenomenon known as […]

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Advanced Space Habitat for Plants

By Morgan Mcallister, NASA The Advanced Plant Habitat (APH), a recent addition to the International Space Station, is the largest growth chamber aboard the orbiting laboratory. Roughly the size of a mini-fridge, the habitat is designed to test which growth conditions plants prefer in space and provides specimens a larger root and shoot area. This […]

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