The father of evolution apparently played God with a tropical ecosystem 160 years ago, and the results could inform future experiments to terraform Mars, botanists say.
The BBC recounts how Charles Darwin helped build an artificial forest on Ascension Island, one of his subjects of study from his trips on the HMS Beagle. Today, the island is home to species of plants that would not naturally co-exist. Darwin and his friends put them there, and nearly two centuries later, their grand experiment is living proof that we can transform natural environments.
You've just landed on the Red Planet and are looking for a fresh start. Sure, that job selling respirators at the local space-hardware store sounds cozy, but it's a dead-end career. Mars will be ripe with opportunity; you just have to figure out how to tap it. So here's the secret: Go into construction. You'll learn useful skills and be out on the surface, where the real action is. Explore the landscape on coffee breaks. All you need to do is stumble upon a nice deposit of precious material—like platinum or deuterium, a hydrogen isotope that could fuel fusion reactors—and you'll have it made.
When PopSci published Will Snyder's article on terraforming Mars, we opined that the Mars Society's colonial flag could use some sprucing up, so we asked readers to submit their own designs. The week the article appeared, 42 Martian-flag mockups turned up in our inbox. Some featured elaborate designs and detailed explanations (which we've printed in their entirety in the slideshow), while others simply included a name. A couple flags were even sent anonymously.