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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This artist impression shows a modern-day Atlantis
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Vladimir Putin fixes a GPS satellite transmitter onto a tiger in 2008
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Animals found with 'puncture holes the size of a human finger'

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Food blogger and Guardian writer Jack Monroe with her young son
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Video: The official full-length trailer for the Jurassic Park sequel has dropped – two days early

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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital