On sale date: 8th January 2015

Issue: 277

One way to Mars

This year, both NASA and Mars One begin preparation for a mission to the Red Planet, but huge obstacles stand in their way. How will we get there? Will the human body be able to cope with Martian conditions? What if something goes wrong? Inside the February issue of Focus, we put these questions to some of the world's leading experts on long-term space missions.

Hands-free driving

On 1 January, it became legal to test driverless cars on the UK's roads. This change in law already has scientists excited, with some predicting the end of traffic jams and minor bumps as we all zoom about in autonomous, pod-style vehicles. In this month's Focus, we reveal how the latest generation of driverless cars is coming along.

Therapy on tap

Imagine a future in which our health, behaviour and mood are all determined by chemicals in our water. It might sound like something out of Brave New World, but the idea may not be so far off. This month, we investigate whether adding lithium to our water could reduce suicide rates, cut the risk of Alzheimer's, and even lead to fewer murders.

Also inside this issue:

Signs from the near future: Tomorrow's world in pictures

Beat the floods: 10 ways to banish the floodwaters

Kaboom! The explosive history of the science of volcanoes

Green energy: Could graphene revolutionise hydrogen batteries?

Raise the bar: We put four soundbars through their paces


Q&A: Why does it feel good to scratch?

MegaPixel: Awe-inspiring images from the world of science

Tech Hub: Toyota's game-changing hydrogen fuel cell car

To Do List: Michael Mosley's Bloodfest comes to BBC Four

Helen Czerski: The BBC presenter on why cooked food goes brown

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