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This Happened

This Happened — May 20: Cher Is Born

Cher was born on this day in 1946, in El Centro, California, United States.

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Who is Cher?

Cher is an American singer, actress, and performer who has had a career spanning over six decades. She is known for her distinctive voice, theatrical performances, and iconic fashion sense.

What was Cher’s childhood like?

Cher had a difficult childhood marked by poverty and instability. Her parents divorced when she was young, and she and her younger half-sister were raised by their mother, who struggled to support the family. They moved frequently and often lived in cheap motels. Cher attended several different schools and had difficulty fitting in with her classmates. Despite these challenges, she discovered a love for singing and performing at a young age and began pursuing a career in entertainment as a teenager.

What awards has Cher won?

Cher has won numerous awards throughout her career, including an Academy Award, a Grammy Award, three Golden Globe Awards, and the Kennedy Center Honors.

What is Cher's personal life like?

Cher has been married twice, including to her former singing partner Sonny Bono, and has two children. She is known for her advocacy work on behalf of various causes, including LGBTQ rights and HIV/AIDS awareness.

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Life On "Mars": With The Teams Simulating Space Missions Under A Dome

A niche research community plays out what existence might be like on, or en route to, another planet.

Photo of a person in a space suit walking toward the ​Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah

At the Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah

Sarah Scoles

In November 2022, Tara Sweeney’s plane landed on Thwaites Glacier, a 74,000-square-mile mass of frozen water in West Antarctica. She arrived with an international research team to study the glacier’s geology and ice fabric, and how its ice melt might contribute to sea level rise. But while near Earth’s southernmost point, Sweeney kept thinking about the moon.

“It felt every bit of what I think it will feel like being a space explorer,” said Sweeney, a former Air Force officer who’s now working on a doctorate in lunar geology at the University of Texas at El Paso. “You have all of these resources, and you get to be the one to go out and do the exploring and do the science. And that was really spectacular.”

That similarity is why space scientists study the physiology and psychology of people living in Antarctic and other remote outposts: For around 25 years, people have played out what existence might be like on, or en route to, another world. Polar explorers are, in a way, analogous to astronauts who land on alien planets. And while Sweeney wasn’t technically on an “analog astronaut” mission — her primary objective being the geological exploration of Earth — her days played out much the same as a space explorer’s might.

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