Artificial soils that mimic the surfaces of the Moon, Mars and asteroids are hard to make — and often miss the mark.
Alex covers Earth and planetary sciences, with a little dabbling in astronomy. She studied geology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and science communication at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Among other places she has worked as a journalist for Science News and the Dallas Morning News; she also ran Nature's US news operations from Washington DC between 2005 and 2010. Alex rejoined the journal in 2013.