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The Planetary Report • May/June 2006

Venus Revisited

On the Cover: This view of Venus, the first released by the Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer (VIRTIS) on the European Space Agency’s Venus Express, reveals swirling patterns in the upper levels of the planet’s thick atmosphere. The left side of this south polar view shows all that is visible to our Earthly eyes in reflected sunlight. The right side is an infrared view of thermal energy emitted by Venus’ overheated atmosphere. For more information on these images, go to http://planetary.org/news/2006/0414_First_Venus_ Express_ VIRTIS_Images_Peel.html
ESA/NAF-IASF, Rome, Italy, and Observatoire de Paris, France

Features

4 We Make it Happen! The Planetary Society Optical SETI Telescope: Bruce Betts explains the cutting-edge technology that will conduct a year-round, all-sky survey.

8 Third Time's a Charm: The Saga of Mars Climate Sounder: A.J.S. Rayl chronicles the trails and tribulations of getting this weather satellite to Mars.

14 Express to Venus: Europe Successfully Enters Orbit Emily Lakdawalla witnesses the arrival at Venus from mission control.

18 The Chance and Necessity of Life: Reflections on AbSciCon 2006: Jim Burke attended this conference and shares his reflections.

Departments

Members' Dialogue Society priorities; meters and miles

17 World Watch NASA's budget; exploring the Moon

20 Q&A Rogue planets; Iapetus' "belly band"

22 Society News Planetary Radio and Optical SETI

astronaut on Phobos
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