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Observations

Observations

Opinion, arguments & analyses from guest experts and from the editors of Scientific American

Satellite Gets First Look at Sun s Tail

Astronomers just got their first good look in the solar system’s rearview mirror. What they see is a magnetic tail that twists like a corkscrew.Although we tend to think of the sun as stationary with the planets orbiting about it, in fact the solar system is plowing through the galaxy at a million miles per hour...

July 15, 2013 — Christopher Crockett

Next Mars Rover Will Seek Out Signs of Past Life

NASA officials have revealed their vision for what comes after the wildly successful Curiosity rover on Mars. Think of it as Curiosity Plus. Using Curiosity’s design as a starting point, Mars 2020 (as it’s currently known) will be another rover digging around the surface of the red planet...

July 11, 2013 — Christopher Crockett

Are Pipelines Safer Than Railroads for Carrying Oil?

The glut of new oil in North America has been accompanied by a boom in moving that petroleum by train. Railway traffic of crude oil in tankers has more than doubled in volume since 2011—and such transport led to tragedy in the early hours of July 6...

July 10, 2013 — David Biello

Mystery Lingers around Origin of GM Wheat in Oregon

When the fresh wheat samples arrived at her lab this spring, Carol Mallory-Smith, a weed scientist, didn’t know what to expect. The concerned farmer who sent them had contacted her because a patch of wheat had refused to die after being treated with a powerful herbicide called Roundup...

July 9, 2013 — Arielle Duhaime-Ross

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