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The Planetary Report
Pale Blue Dot On the Cover: Voyager 1 turned its camera back on its home planet for the last time on February 14, 1990. For the first time, humankind could see itself in perspective from the edge of our solar system—something possible only through our efforts to explore other worlds. This evocative representation of Earth appeared in the book Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan. To see the image of Earth taken by Voyager 1, go to

Volume 21, number 5
September/October 2001

Pale Blue Dot

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4 Opinion: Calibrating Success in Science: How Failure Fits In: Glenn Cunningham reflects here on the role of failure in space flight.

6 Touchdown! NEAR's Historic Landing: NEAR team leaders Robert Farquhar, Joseph Veverka, and Bobby Williams report to us on their scientific discoveries and on the spacecraft's daring landing on the asteroid Eros.

12 Looking Back, Moving Forward: Assessing Our Solar Sail Test Flight: Louis Friedman gives the reasons for the failure of the Cosmos 1 test flight, as well as our next steps in our effort to fly the first solar sail.

19 Teaching Science Under African Skies: George T. Whitesides tells us about this inspirational project which The Planetary Society helped sponsor.


18 World Watch Hope for the future in the wake of the 9-11 attacks 

19 Society News New logo and new member benefits

20 Q&A What's to prevent a meteorite or a piece of space junk from hitting and damaging a solar sail? How Many celestial objects have been cataloged in our solar system?

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