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Breakthrough of the Year 2004

Every year in December, Science magazine publishes their Breakthrough of the Year (BOY) special issue, presenting the Science editorial team's picks for the most important science-related story of the year and a list of runners-up. This year for the first time Science's Next Wave has joined with Science, in two ways.First, we've contacted some of the people doing the science behind Science's breakthrough topic, the exploration of Mars. But whereas Science has chosen to look backwards over the work that yielded this year's big payoffs, we have chosen to look into the future towards the work that still needs doing.

Even as the twin rovers continue to explore the dusty plains of the Red Planet, a follow up mission is already in the works. In "A Phoenix Flies to Mars", Andrew Fazekas, the Canadian Editor for Science's Next Wave, writes about the NASA Phoenix polar lander, and Canada's contribution to the project: a sophisticated meteorological station developed by a team of Canadian scientists and engineers that will analyze Mars' arctic climate. Fazekas talks to Isabelle Tremblay, the systems engineer for the Canadian part of the mission, about what it's like to work in space exploration and what the future may hold for early career space scientists.

From Europe, Next Wave's Babette Pain writes about opportunities missed and what they've led to in "Lost in Space, but Still on Track". Beagle 2, the lander for the European Mars Express mission, was declared lost in space. Yet some of the early career scientists who worked on the project know exactly where they are and where they're headed.

Finally, we've prepared our own list of career-related breakthroughs of the year in science, what we--the editors of Science's Next Wave--believe are the most important developments in scientific careers over the last twelve months.

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