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space exploration

The Martian: Where Science Fiction Meets Science Fact

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On Friday, Matt Damon’s long-awaited sci-fi suspense film The Martian hits the big screen. Based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Andy Weir, it tells the story of astronaut Mark Watney, who is stranded on the Red Planet during an expedition, and the furious efforts of his fellow astronauts and NASA to rescue him. The movie promises to be a thrill-inducing jaunt for movie audiences. On Monday, however, NASA announced that it has “the strongest evidence yet” that salty water may be flowing on Mars. That announcement affirms the possibility that life may exist on another planet—and its implications may be a thrill greater than any movie can provide. It also may push the space agency, U.S. policy…

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Interstellar shows humankind has not yet finished roaming the heavens

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If you like your movies with star power, then Friday is a big day for you. That’s when the highly anticipated blockbuster Interstellar blasts into theaters, courtesy of director Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception, The Prestige). Interstellar tells the story of a group of astronauts (led by Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey) who rockets into space searching for a new planet that humankind can call home. Their voyage into the unknown follows a space-faring tradition established decades ago, when the vision and labor of thousands of men and women culminated with human footsteps on the moon. While it’s been a while since we’ve walked on the lunar surface, humankind has not yet finished roaming the heavens. So if…

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