Mars helicopter Ingenuity is ready for its “Wright Brothers” moment

If all goes well, in late July, Nasa will do something it’s never done before. The agency will launch a new mission to Mars with the aim of landing a small helicopter on the surface that will perform several test missions to see if we can fly on the surface of the Red Planet.

Ancient Bristlecone Pines by Drone

Last week we had the opportunity to head up Highway 395 into Big Pine where we made a left up to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. Because of the coronavirus, the place was empty. Not a soul to be seen anywhere. We did a feature on bristlecones a few months ago in which we marveled …

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Beautiful, but Deadly: Painting the Coronavirus

Pandemic as art. You’ve seen it. Probably a thousand or more times by now. It’s the image of a greyish sphere, hanging in space, barbed with blood-red spikes. It looks like an undersea Navy mine… or perhaps a dog’s chew toy. The Covid-19 coronavirus illustration is one of the best known and most viewed scientific …

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How one building survived the San Francisco earthquake and changed the world.

The Bekins building survived because it was made of a relatively new material that had largely been ignored (and vigorously opposed) in California. That material is reinforced concrete.

blue whale

The Mismeasure by Man – How We Overstate the Length of the Blue Whale, Earth’s Largest Creature

Many articles and references about blue whales will tell you, blue whales can reach lengths of up to 100 feet long or more. But not a single blue whale has ever been scientifically verified as being 100 feet long. That’s right. Not one.

Photo by Spencer Backman on Unsplash

Why are California’s redwoods and sequoias so big and tall?

California’s giant sequoias and redwoods are nature’s skyscrapers. Existing mostly in a few narrow pockets in Northern California (there are also some redwoods just over the border with Oregon and Washington State), these two tree species are wonders of the biological world. They are also some of the most magnificent things to behold on the planet.

Photo: Erik Olsen

Vasquez Rocks: Where Plates Collide and Captain Kirk Roamed

It’s not every day that you can drive down the highway and personally witness one of the great tectonic collisions in Earth’s history. But, if you happen to be motoring along Highway 14, the Antelope Valley Freeway, towards Palmdale near Santa Clarita, there they are:  great slabs of rock stretching skyward at steep angles out …

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Bristlecone Pine

The Majesty and Mystery of California’s Bristlecone Pines

Bristlecones are the longest living organism on earth. Gnarled and oftentimes squat, especially when compared to the majestic coastal redwoods and giant sequoias living near the coast further west, they hardly seem like mythical beings. But to scientists, they are a trove of information, offering clues to near immortality and to the many ways that the earth’s climate has changed over the last 5,000 years.

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