The crater in the center of the image is a “tuff cone,” a feature that forms when magma and water mingle—good evidence of a once-wetter climate. (A volcanic eruption, less than 5,000 years old, during the desert’s present arid state, caused the dark basaltic field to the right.) Learning how to study our planet from orbit will help us do the same above other planets. On August 11, for example, the Cassini orbiter’s cameras flew past Saturn’s moon Enceladus to photograph its water-ice geysers, evidence that liquid may be underneath.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.