How soon before we can start mapping the surfaces of distant planets?

To date, astronomers have catalogued over 860 exoplanets. If that wasn't remarkable enough, scientists have also been able to determine the atmospheric composition of many of these planets by analyzing their spectral shifts. But even more incredible would be the ability to actually chart landmasses and oceanic… » 1/31/13 11:20am 1/31/13 11:20am

Here's the earliest known map of the Gulf Stream, created by Benjamin…

Benjamin Franklin's perspicacity never fails to amaze. In few places is his mental acuity more evident than his letters of correspondence, wherein Franklin frequently ruminated on topics scientific, technical and philosophical. What follows is an excerpt from one such letter, originally addressed to a scientific… » 12/28/12 8:20am 12/28/12 8:20am