Life on Mars, in Utah

As rock samples show evidence of life on the Red Planet, scientists and enthusiasts live like astronauts far closer to home,  in the harsh terrain of Utah's desert

Photography book of the week: Black Maps - American Landscape and the Apocalyptic Sublime, By David Maisel

"These photographs," writes David Maisel, one of a group of landscape photographers dubbed "the New Topographics", "depict the landscape of the American West as the site of human-induced trauma."

IoS book review: The Friday Gospels, By Jenn Ashworth

The lives of Latter Day Saints

Face-tattooed neo-Nazi is sentenced to life for the killing of a prison guard

Curtis Allgier, a neo-Nazi and inmate of Utah Department of Corrections offered a oddly affecting plea when sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for killing a prison guard five years ago. He said: "Just because I've got tattoos on my face and I'm proud of my race, I'm not some violent monster."

Great getaways: Chamonix and Salt Lake City

French fancy

Obama's re-election: a time for prayer?

Dear Lord... Energy firm boss's prayer after Obama re-election

For the chairman and chief executive of Murray Energy, an Ohio-based coal company, the reelection of President Barack Obama was no cause for celebration. It was a time for prayer — and layoffs.

Team Romney prepares for power and patronage

Romney has promised to do two things on his first day in office – and there are plenty of jobs to fill

Forza Horizon – Review

Forza Horizon shrugs off the straitjacket and lets the franchise run free.
Quite an inheritance: the sale of Ancestry.com has netted founder Paul Allen and CEO Tim Sullivan a share of £1bn

Mormons proves money grows on family trees

For the newest members of the dot-com millionaires club, money grows on family trees. A Mormon company have cashed in after their genealogy service agreed to a £1bn buyout lead by UK investors excited by a global roots-finding trend boosted by, among other celebrities, Gwyneth Paltrow.

Man missing in desert for three weeks survived on diet of frogs and roots

An autistic man survived in the desert for three weeks on a diet of frogs and roots, US authorities have said.

Reading Like a Writer, By Francine Prose

As novelist and critic, American writer Francine Prose has always gloried in a robust wit and heretical spirit that set her at odds with the po-faced pieties of the US literary scene.

Five Wives vodka 'offends Mormons'

If drinkers in Idaho fancy having Five Wives, they will now have to go elsewhere: regulators in the state have banned the sale of the humorously titled vodka after deeming it offensive to Mormons.

Kerchner, right receives his DSC from Lt-Col James Rudder in June 1944

Lieutenant George Kerchner: Veteran of the D-Day landings

Injured later, he wrote in his diary, 'Attack. Rough! Got hit. Million dollar wound.On way back'

David and Louise Estes' daughter Jade was born on Wednesday morning in Provo, near Salt Lake City, Utah

Woman has third consecutive leap year baby

Three American siblings have equalled a world record set in the 1960s by each being born on three consecutive leap year days.

When I really felt in the firing line... at the premiere of my first film

Tom Bradby has been shot during riots in Indonesia, he has reported from Northern Ireland at the height of the troubles, and he has unwittingly triggered the biggest crisis in the British media for a generation. But the ITV News Political Editor has found a new terror – attending film premieres as a guest of honour.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas