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The Planetary Report • December solstice 2011

Remembering: The Year in Pictures

On the Cover: After 30 years and 135 flights, the United States' space shuttle program had ended. On July 8, 2011, the last shuttle—Atlantis—roared into a blue Florida sky to carry four tons of supplies and spare parts to the International Space Station. With Atlantis and its sisters Discovery and Endeavour now headed for museums, the space station will now depend on Russian, Japanese, and European rockets to deliver supplies, and hope for privately built supply ships to become available soon.
Ben Cooper / LaunchPhotography.com

Features

6 The Year in Pictures: Stunning photography of breakthroughs in space science in the past year.

13 2011 Advocacy Wrap-Up: The big story of the year was how NASA got the short end of the stick in the fiscal year 2012 budget.

18 A Letter from Russia: As hopes for Phobos-Grunt fade away, Bruce Betts  shares a letter from the Russians as well as his thoughts on the mission.

20 Protecting Earth from Asteroids: Shoemaker Grant recipients are profiled, and Bruce Betts heads to Romania for the 2011 International Academy of Astronautics Planetary Defense Conference.

Planetary Society KidsHow do we gather light in space? And how to telescopes work?

Departments

2 Snapshots from Space 1975 was good for Venus.

4 Your Place in Space Bill Nye reflects on the events, discoveries, and wonderful people who made 2011 a year to remember in space science.

16 Q&A How are spacecraft decommissioned?

13 Factinos Lakes on Europa; water vapor surrounding a young star

19 What’s Up? The two brightest planets in the sky.

11 Planetary Radio Catch up with what happened on Planetary Radio recently.

12 My Sky Members' photos of the sky.

astronaut on Phobos
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