The Oscars were last week, with the move “the Martian” nominated for a best picture award. The popular movie was about an astronaut surviving on the planet Mars alone. The NASA space program is featured prominently in the movie, and the government agency has actively promoted the movie and provided information regarding how the agency would handle a similar situation. Without providing any big spoilers, the astronaut, played by Matt Damon, uses his scientific knowledge (he is a botanist) to produce water, grow potatoes, and just survive on the Mars planet. Watching the movie with my twelve year old, we began discussing how realistic were some of these plans. My librarian instincts kicked in, and I began to wonder where would one even begin to look for this kind of information? A good place to start that research is with, a U.S. government produced resource for researching scientific topics. serves as a gateway to the U.S. government’s scientific, technical, and research information. Researchers can browse for information using the Google-like search engine that caters to all things relating to science. contains over 38 databases, from 14 federal science agencies, and can search from 200 million pages of science information and over 1,900 scientific websites with just one query. Users can search by terms, keywords, or topics. The website is part of an interagency initiative with 19 U.S. government science organizations within 15 Federal Agencies to promote scientific research. These agencies form the voluntary Alliance which governs the site. searching

Features: 5.0 (5.0 stands for the fifth generation of the database) provides the ultimate science search through a variety of features and abilities, including:

  • Accessing over 55 databases and 200 million pages of science information via one query
  • Clustering of results by subtopics, authors, or dates to help you target your search
  • Wikipedia results related to your search terms
  • Eureka News results related to your search terms
  • Mark & send option for emailing results to friends and colleagues
  • Download capabilities in RIS
  • Enhanced information related to your real-time search
  • Aggregated Science News Feed, also available on Twitter
  • Updated Alerts service
  • Image Search
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