When a Mars Simulation Goes Wrong. A crew of hardy pioneers does a practice run for a Mars mission on the slopes of a Hawaiian volcano. What could possibly go wrong?
—Nancy McGuire, Contract Editor
The Children Are the Future (of Space Exploration).
Jerry Morrison has always been fascinated by space. The 7-year-old was inspired by his Uncle Joey, who works as a NASA engineer.
— NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBCNightlyNews) February 29, 2020
“I’ll create a telescope, so then we can see Proxima Centauri, Kepler 452b, and all the planets we want.” —Jerry Morrison, age 7
Need a tonic for anything getting you down? This brief piece about a first-grader with an infectious, inspiring passion for space, science, and discovery just about brought tears to my eyes.
—Timothy Oleson, Science Editor
Texas Criminal Trial Highlights Climate Liability for Factories in Floodplains. As the effects of climate change spread and become the new “normal,” what liability do companies have in preparing for them? A lawsuit in Texas will be litigating just that.
—Tshawna Byerly, Copy Editor
BIG NEWS (thread 1/3). Earth has a new temporarily captured object/Possible mini-moon called 2020 CD3. On the night of Feb. 15, my Catalina Sky Survey teammate Teddy Pruyne and I found a 20th magnitude object. Here are the discovery images. pic.twitter.com/zLkXyGAkZl
— Kacper Wierzchos (@WierzchosKacper) February 26, 2020
Say hello to our little friend! Earth has a teeny tiny temporary “mini moon.” Is it an asteroid? Is it a piece of space junk? Who knows! This small piece of…something…will be sharing our space for just a little bit before moving on. It’s the second transitory satellite of Earth we’ve found, and it probably won’t be the last. The first one we saw was around for only 2 years.
—Kimberly Cartier, Staff Writer
Youth Activists Appeal Ruling That They Can’t Sue Government over Climate Change. Youth climate activists hope that judges will overturn a January court ruling and allow them to sue the federal government for failing to act on climate change. Lawyers representing the youths in the case known as Juliana v. United States are filing an appeal to judges in the Ninth Circuit to allow a trial in the case. The lawsuit is one of dozens of efforts worldwide to tackle climate change through the courts.
—Randy Showstack, Staff Writer
Could Wildfire Ash Feed the Ocean’s Tiniest Life-Forms? The answer seems to be yes, according to research by a grad student at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She and her colleagues added ash from the 2017 Thomas Fire to tanks of naturally occurring marine phytoplankton. These more than doubled in biomass during three seasons of the year, compared with those in control tanks. With wildfires increasing as a result of climate change, nutrients in the oceans could be affected on a global scale.
—Faith Ishii, Production Manager
Most California Cities Refuse to Retreat from Rising Seas. One Town Wants to Show How It’s Done. This story is not only beautifully written, but it’s also a cheery tale of climate adaptation: A California town is embracing managed retreat. From Rosanna Xia’s reporting, we learn that the city of Marina forbids seawalls, keeps its beach mostly wild, and has long-term plans about how and when to move infrastructure away from the coast. As the city manager put it, “We have a shot to do it right.” As many coastal cities waffle about what to do, Marina’s clear-eyed approach has us all watching.
—Jenessa Duncombe, Staff Writer
Shell Is Looking Forward. “Few organizations have been paying as much attention to global warming for as long as the companies that have helped cause it,” and this devastating article lets you eavesdrop on how those companies (and the geoscientists who work for them) are now planning to profit from divestment—but, uh, keep drilling while they’re doing it: “We’re going to get as much out of [oil and gas] for as long as we can.” Perhaps the most sobering fact is reported early: “Everyone is really nice.”
—Caryl-Sue, Managing Editor