Science in the News

NASA's 2020 Mars Rover Science Goals

The Mars rover Curiosity is currently traveling the surface looking for past habitable environments.  In 2020, a new Martian rover will look for signs of past life, collect samples for possible future return to Earth, and demonstrate technology for future human exploration of the Red Planet.

Learn more from the video below and the following links:

NASA/JPL: Science Team Outlines Goals for NASA's 2020 Mars Rover

NOVA Program - Earth from Space

From PBS-NOVA:  Earth From Space is a groundbreaking two-hour special that reveals a spectacular new space-based vision of our planet. Produced in extensive consultation with NASA scientists, NOVA takes data from earth-observing satellites and transforms it into dazzling visual sequences, each one exposing the intricate and surprising web of forces that sustains life on earth.

The Closest Star System Found in a Century

WISE J104915.57-531906

You have probably heard of Alpha Centauri and Proxima Centauri, the closest known stars to the Sun.  About 100 years ago, Barnard's Star was discovered to be only about 1.5 light years further from us than the Alpha Centauri system. Just recently, though, a Penn State astronomer discovered the third closest star system to the Sun, but this time, instead of normal stars, this system includes "brown dwarfs", which are sometimes referred to as "failed stars".

Impacts of Ocean Acidification on Marine Life

Young bivalves such as oysters, coral reefs, and other organisms that rely on calcite or aragonite to grow their shells and structures are fighting a battle with ocean acidification. We provide links to several recent articles on the issue, which would serve as an excellent topic for a classroom discussion or writing exercise.

Background Article: Larvae, Climate and Calcification

New Map of Antarctica Bedrock

A new dataset called Bedmap2 gives a clearer picture of Antarctica from the ice surface down to the bedrock below. Bedmap2 is a significant improvement on the previous collection of Antarctic data—known as Bedmap—that was produced more than 10 years ago. The product was a result of work led by the British Antarctic Survey, where researchers compiled decades worth of geophysical measurements, such as surface elevation measurements from NASA's Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite, known as ICESat, and ice thickness data collected by Operation IceBridge.

Online Videos Show ‘Faces of Climate Change’

Three short online videos embedded below depict the dramatic changes in Alaska’s marine ecosystems through interviews with scientists and Alaska natives. The videos were produced by the Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE) Alaska, the Alaska Sea Grant program, the Alaska Marine Conservation Council, and the Alaska Ocean Observing System.

To view more Alaska COSEE Resources, go to