If you're on Mars next October you should probably be careful. There's a comet swinging past - comet Siding Spring - and while it's unlikely to connect with Big Red itself, it will bring glittering meteors spinning in its wake. Lots of meteors, actually - some of which - and I shivered when I read this line on the front page of the New Scientist website - "could pose a danger to orbiting spacecraft."
That's a wonderful phrase, but I'm afraid I've turned it over a few times and the thrill of it quickly gives way to disappointment. You won't be on Mars next October, not with the best will in the world, even if you called in absolutely every favour you had coming to you. And those orbiting spacecraft? They won't be carrying any humans either. When it comes to outer space, we're not onto our training wheels yet. We don't even know what training wheels look like - and when we do find out, the things they entail will probably briskly kill us with radiation.