Susan is an author with a long-time interest in religion and science. She currently edits Covalence, the Lutheran Alliance for Faith, Science and Technology’s online magazine. She has written articles in The Lutheran and the Zygon Center for Religion and Science newsletter. Susan is a board member for the Center for Advanced Study of Religion and Science, the supporting organization for the Zygon Center and the Zygon Journal. She also co-wrote Our Bodies Are Selves with Dr. Philip Hefner and Dr. Ann Pederson.

As we were all making peace with our year in lockdown, NASA’s Mars Rover 2020 mission was speeding along in its aim to reach the red planet. This past month, the Rover Perseverance lived up to its name and successfully landed and began its search for signs of ancient life. The detailed images it has sent back so far have not only been awe inspiring, but also offer a glimmer of hope for progress in a year that has been so devastating to so many.

NIH Director Francis Colllins, who presented to the faith and science organization the American Scientific Affiliation, illustrated in a single chart the rapid progress researchers made in developing a vaccine in only 11 months, when previous vaccines took years to reach people’s arms. He also offered the latest data on the coronavirus and how his faith has been integral to how he approaches his work, which we detail in this month’s news section.

We are taking also another look at the field of astrotheology, which is very much linked with the astrobiology mission of the Mars Rover program. The March issue of Covalence also takes a look at a number of projects being completed by sociologists who are eager to answer a series of questions related to how religious communities have weathered the global pandemic. Does a religious group’s view of science impact influence how they as individuals respond to the pandemic, for instance? Studies are ongoing.

We hope you and yours are remaining safe and healthy!

Susan Barreto, Editor

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