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Editor's choice

Jan 19, 2014

A special free-to-read digital edition containing 10 of our very best feature articles on the science and applications of light

In depth: Astronomy, astrophysics & cosmology

Web life

NASA's Trajectory Browser site lets you plan your own mission to a planet or asteroid

Sounding out the Sun

Introducing a new work of art called a solar wind chime

Life among the MERtians

What's it like to work on Mars? Stephen J Pyne reviews an anthropologist's account of the team behind the Mars Exploration Rovers

Thinking big about the future

Kirstin Matthews and Padraig Moloney argue for more basic science spending

Another side of black holes

A book about the links between black holes, galaxy formation and the distribution of matter in the universe, reviewed by Kulvinder Singh Chadha

Between the lines

Books about back-of-the-envelope calculations, cosmology and water waves, reviewed by Matin Durrani and Tushna Commissariat

The secret of life

David Jenkins and Oliver Kirsebom explore the mysterious nuclear energy level of carbon-12 that made life possible

A fusion of minds

Richard Corfield examines the mystery of the astronomer Sir Bernard Lovell's visit to the Soviet Union in 1963

Cool dust and baby stars

Steve Eales revels in the new view of the universe provided by the Herschel Space Observatory

The why and how of it all

Two books about why the universe bothers to exist, reviewed by Tim Maudlin

Voyager – a mission for life

Mark Williamson asks what keeps scientists motivated in the 35-year-old Voyager mission

My life on Mars

Ashley Dale recounts his experiences during a two-week stint at the Mars Desert Research Station, a facility in the Utah desert

Web life

Space insider Wayne Hale blogs with the aim of "starting a conversation about space exploration"

Transit watching

Robert P Crease unveils a key finding from this year's transit of Venus

100 years of cosmic rays

A century on from the discovery of cosmic rays, Alan Watson examines the remaining mysteries