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The Planetary Report • March/April 1996

Project BETA: The Search Begins

On the Cover: The Andromeda Galaxy is the nearest spiral galaxy to our own, the Milky Way. Only 2.2 million light-years away, it graphically demonstrates the immensity of galaxies, and feeds our wondering if other planets exist on which a technical civilization exists. The various searches being conducted from Earth mostly concentrate on detecting radio signals from another civilization within the Milky Way. The Planetary Society's Project BETA, now online, is able to search a quarter-billion channels at once, making it the most powerful continuing SETI program on Earth.
Tony Hallas

Features

4 A Quantum Leap for SETI: Project BETA Goes On-line: SETI Coordinator Tom McDonough shares the excitement of our new project and describes its capabilities to search for radio signals from other civilizations.

8 International Report: The European Space Agency Faces the Future: Roy Gibson reports on a meeting of European nations to tackle the problem of the large budgets required for space exploration.

10 From the Scabland to Mars: Preparing for the Pathfinder Mission: Kari Magee takes us on a tour of terrain in Washington State that bears striking similarities to Mars.

15 Research Update: Near-Earth Asteroid Studies Continue: Richard Binzel describes a Society-sponsored project to study the Earth's neighborhood.

Departments

3 Members' Dialogue Space spending, SETI, and health in space.

16 Basics of Spaceflight Propulsion systems.

18 News & Reviews Conflict between environmental preservation and development. 

19 Society News Expanding our tour program, offering milk caps to children, helping teachers, and more.

20 Q&A Why are we searching for radio signals rather than laser messages from ET?

astronaut on Phobos
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