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The Planetary Report
To Sample the Sun On the Cover: Even though humans have watched the Sun throughout our existence, we still don't know exactly what it's made of. The Genesis mission, to launch in 2001, will attempt to find out. In this image from the Extreme Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (EIT) aboard the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), we see features a few thousand kilometers above the visible surface, at temperatures between 900,000 and 1 million kelvins (1.6 to 1.8 million degrees Fahrenheit). SOHO is watching the Sun from Earth orbit, while Genesis will collect samples nearer to the Sun and return them to Earth.
SOHO EIT Consortium, NASA / ESA

Volume 18, number 2
March/April 1998

To Sample the Sun

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4 Mars Global Surveyor: The Saga of the Solar Array: No interplanetary mission is flawless, but some achieve their goals despite problems, and it looks like MGS will fall into this category. Glenn Cunningham reports on the problems and triumphs of the mission thus far.

11 Mars Global Surveyor Science Update: MGS Project Scientist Arden Albee gives a quick summary of the findings MGS has made before even reaching its final mapping orbit.

12 The Genesis Mission: Catching Pieces of the Sun: Don Burnett describes this Discovery-class mission, which will sample the solar wind and return it to Earth.

12 The Contour Mission: Seeking Clues to Our Origin: Joseph Veverka outlines another Discovery-class mission, aimed at studying comets for clues to the origin of life on Earth.


3 Members' Dialogue Mars and the metric system.

16 The Stuff of Life Must life be carbon based?

18 News & Reviews Ice ages, meteors, meteorology, and monasteries.

19 World Watch The space station, budget politics, and planetary exploration in 1998.

20 Q&A What would happen to a human body if it were ejected into space without a spacesuit?

22 Society News Society project updates.

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