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06 Sep, 2016

52 Places to Go in 2016

Mexico City


When Pope Francis visits Mexico City next month, he will draw the faithful from around the country. The Mexican capital, though, is attracting pilgrims of another kind: travelers seeking some of the world’s best cuisine, museums and forward-thinking design. With young people from around Latin America and Spain streaming into the city, and the Mexican peso hitting record lows against the dollar, the city — daunting and endless as it is — radiates energy.

Certainly, there is no more exciting place to eat. Enrique Olvera, who reinvented Mexican cuisine at Pujol, has inspired a generation of restaurants in his wake; recent openings include Fonda Fina in La Roma andFonda Mayora in nearby Condesa.

Design fans can work up an appetite shopping for products by studios likeDavid Pompa andLagos del Mundo or for designs byCarla Fernández. Photography lovers have two new destinations: the FotoMuseo Cuatro Caminos and the newly renovatedCentro de la Imagen.

But getting to know the city means diving into its colonias. In the shadow of Paseo de la Reforma, the city’s grand boulevard, the Colonia Cuauhtémoc, beckons business travelers and tourists alike, with the new design-consciousCarlota hotel and an increasing number of restaurants. Many other areas demand a more intimate exploration. You can stroll by the French-style 19th-century mansions of La Roma or take a turn around Parque México in Condesa.

Of course, there are places you should not wander but the city is far safer than it was in the 1990s, and taxi services like Uber and Yaxi make getting around a lot more comfortable. It’s also easier to get to: in the summer, AeroMéxico, JetBlue and American Airlines have boosted flights.

And if you’re overwhelmed, you can visit Futura CDMX, a scale model of the Federal District due to open soon — the latest flourish of pride in a city that’s ever coming back.



06 Sep, 2016

NASA Aims at an Asteroid Holding Clues

For the next two years, NASA’s latest robotic spacecraft will be chasing down an asteroid near Earth in the hopes of scooping up some of the most primordial bits of the solar system.

The premise of the mission for the spacecraft, Osiris-Rex, is simple: Fly to an asteroid, grab some of the rock and bring it back to Earth, where scientists will study some of the pristine ingredients that went into the making of the solar system, including possibly the building blocks of life.

“What was that beginning organic material like?” James L. Green, the director of NASA’s planetary science division, said in an interview. “That’s what’s really exciting about this. This is what we want.”

The details are a bit more complicated.

The spacecraft is sitting on top of an Atlas 5 rocket at Cape Canaveral, Fla., ready for launching on Thursday on a seven-year mission.

Once off the ground, Osiris-Rex — a shortening of Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer — will be aiming to get close to the asteroid Bennu.

“It’s 500 meters or so in size, about the height of the Empire State Building,” Dr. Green said. Discovered in 1999, Bennu is a carbon-rich, almost black asteroid. Data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and radar measurements by ground-based radio telescopes suggest it is a “rubble pile” with pebbles about half an inch wide on the surface.

Scientists believe that it is a conglomeration of leftovers, largely unchanged over the last 4.5 billion years.




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31 Aug, 2016