February 1st, 2004

Space probes let earthly germs make themselves at home on Mars The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

As the first explorers pushed into the interior of the New World, they found native populations reeling from diseases never seen in the Americas. The bugs got there first. Leapfrogging ahead of the Europeans, the microbes carrying smallpox, measles and other diseases had decimated communities that had no natural immunity to them. Now, on a more distant new world, the bugs have done it again — across 50 million miles of interplanetary space. Decades will pass before the first humans set foot on Mars. But they won’t be the first Earthlings to land there.

December 14th, 2003

What’s next? Futurists think big — or small The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Morphing planes that change shape as they fly. Solar-powered aircraft that stay aloft for months. Insect-like robots flapping gossamer wings in the cold thin air of Mars. Elevators to Earth orbit. Affordable family weekends in space hotels. Aerial warfare among squadrons of pilotless drones. Flying spycams no bigger than mosquitoes. Jumbo jets with a thousand passengers. Hypersonic flights from New York to London in under an hour. The future of flight or merely flights of fancy?

October 5th, 2003

China expects boost from space program The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Soon, maybe this month, from a town at the edge of the Gobi Desert — not far from the terminus of the Great Wall — one man, or maybe two, will blast into space. After four unmanned trial flights, China hopes to launch and successfully return its yuhangyuan — astronaut, or, literally translated, universe traveler — aboard a spacecraft called Shenzhou V.