November 6th, 2003

Howard Dean The Washington Post

In January voters in New Hampshire will cast ballots for the Democratic candidate they feel would best hold the office of the presidency. The eventual winner of the nationwide nomination process will face President Bush next November. Democratic candidate and former Vermont governor Howard Dean was online to take your questions Thursday, Nov. 6 at 10:15 a.m. ET on the campaign and his vision for the United States.

August 29th, 2003

White House to Weigh Interplanetary Missions The Washington Post

A stinging report on the demise of the space shuttle Columbia is increasing congressional pressure on President Bush to resolve long-postponed questions about his plans for space, but aides said yesterday that he plans no immediate upgrade of NASA’s budget or mission as the space agency struggles to restart the shuttle program. Administration officials disclosed in an interview that the White House will begin work next week on a blueprint for interplanetary human flight over the next 20 or 30 years, with plans calling for Bush to issue an ambitious new national vision for space travel by early next year.

August 27th, 2003

Mad for Mars: Stargazers Flock for a View The Washington Post

You may already know that 41 minutes before sunrise this morning, Mars drifted closer to Earth than it ever has in human history. A mere 34,646,418 miles separated the planets. The last flyby of this proximity occurred nearly 60,000 years ago, when perhaps a dreamy Neanderthal paused in the thankless grind of natural selection to behold the heavens.

May 12th, 2003

NASA Hopes to Tap Mystery of Water on Mars The Washington Post

With back-to-back rocket launchings next month, NASA hopes to revive its Mars exploration program — and burnish its battered image — with an ambitious $800 million mission to figure out what happened to the water that scientists think once scoured the planet’s surface. If all goes as planned, two identical spacecraft will slam into the Martian atmosphere next January after seven-month voyages, bounce like giant beach balls across the frozen surface and then unfold like flower blossoms to reveal a pair of “monster truck” robot geologists.

March 29th, 2002

Worlds Apart, but Not for Long: Five Planets Start to Converge The Washington Post

Nature’s magnificence unfolds in a rare sky show during April and May. The visible five planets that now are spread out in the western evening sky — Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn — are getting ready to converge in May. Early this month, look for Venus about 18 degrees above the western horizon as the sun sets. It can be seen between the constellations Pisces and Aries, and it appears to be about 20 degrees away from the dim red planet Mars. While Venus is lower in the sky than Mars, this will soon change. As April progresses, the exceptionally bright Venus and Mars move closer together. They are but 13 degrees apart in the western night sky by the middle of the month.

October 12th, 2001

Mars Wearing Veil of Dust The Washington Post

The biggest dust storms in 30 years have been raging since June on Mars, obscuring the planet’s surface, heating the upper reaches of the thin Martian atmosphere by up to 80 degrees and cooling the surface layers 10 degrees below normal, astronomers reported yesterday. From an earthly perspective, the global impact of the storms is roughly equivalent to the impact of the 1991 Mount Pinatubo volcanic eruption in the Philippines that carried ash and dust around the world.

April 2nd, 2001

NASA Returning to Mars With Anxiety and Hope The Washington Post

Humbled by Mars, NASA is about to send another spacecraft to study it. The launch of the 2001 Mars Odyssey orbiter, set for Saturday, is the first since the agency was staggered by 1999’s back-to-back failures of missions to the planet. And it is the first Mars craft to be dispatched since the National Aeronautics and Space Administration drastically revamped the program based on multiple investigations of what went wrong.