Professor Colin Pillinger is one of the brightest stars in Britain's scientific firmament and he explains on page 4 how Beagle 2, our very own Martian lander, started on its interplanetary journey and what it will do when it touches down on Christmas Day. Beagle 2 would be unable to call home without the huge advances in communication outlined by Brady Haran on page 5.
For the classroom, Helen Ross outlines on page 6 the history of puzzles: is the Moon really made of green cheese and why does it seem bigger when it's lower in the horizon? She offers some amusing experiments to help disentangle physics from perception, while on page 7 Becky Parker tracks down space in the national curriculum. Elsewhere, Peter Campbell outlines how the new GCSE, 21st century science, will use pupils' interest in space to kindle their scientific understanding, and Anita Heward offers career tips for space cadets.
To round off the trip, Sarah Farley visits the National Space Centre to find out how we know that men really did land on the moon, and Brady Haran joins a Year 7 class to the BT Challenger Learning Centre to avert disaster on Mars.