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Unlike science fiction films featuring grotesque aliens and faraway galaxies, Ridley Scott’s The Martian depicts a sci-fi space mission that could soon be science fact. 20th Century Fox

How close are we to actually becoming Martians?

NASA has set a target date of 2030 for a manned mission to Mars. With no real scientific breakthroughs needed, success depends on developing the proper technology.
This digital false-colour image shows the dark, narrow streaks on Martian slopes inferred to be formed by seasonal flow of water on the planet. The streaks are roughly the length of a football field. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

There is water on Mars, but what does this mean for life?

Now that we have discovered liquid water on the surface of Mars, what does this mean for the prospects of finding life there, past or present?
Improving maternal mortality and ending preventable deaths in children are some of the health targets in the Sustainable Development Goals. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade/Flickr

More is less? Health in the Sustainable Development Goals

Health has secured its place as one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. But without clear mechanisms to report, finance or engage other sectors, could more end up as less?
The Sahel, the transition zone between the arid north of Africa and tropic south, has highly variable rainfall. Center for International Forestry Research.

Native shrubs: a simple fix for drought-stricken crops in Sub-Saharan Africa

Field trials in Senegal show native shrubs can access deep-soil water and make it available to adjacent crops – a technique that could alleviate drought conditions in marginal lands around the world.
Storms coming? El Niño is projected to lead to much-needed rain in California next year. chrisamichaels/flickr

What would it take to end California’s drought?

El Niño is expected to bring heavy rains to drought-stricken California, but more rain alone won't solve the West's water crisis.
Children from a village in Papua New Guinea’s Western Highlands Province stand in one of countless sweet potato gardens destroyed by frost across the country, August 2015. Kud Sitango

As Papua New Guinea faces worsening drought, a past disaster could save lives

Papua New Guinea is now facing a drought and frosts that look set to be worse than 1997, when hundreds of people died. So how can memories of 1997 save lives over the next few months?
As control over water returns to the state, the Indonesian government should carefully develop policies to manage and monitor water services. nikkytok/www.shutterstock.com

What next after Jakarta ends water privatisation?

The de-privatisation of water services in Jakarta creates new challenges for the government to ensure universal access to water.

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