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The Planetary Report • September Equinox 2012

Super Robot

On the Cover: Named for that special characteristic that fuels humanity’s desire to reach beyond its grasp, Curiosity captured this photo of itself on Mars with its Navigation Camera on August 28, 2012. Delivered to the Red Planet by a crazily complex landing procedure, the most advanced spacecraft laboratory in history is busy looking for evidence of past (or present) life on Mars—proving once again that space exploration brings out the best in us.
NASA / JPL-Caltech

Features

6 Curiosity’s First Days on Mars: Bruce Betts recaps those exciting first few moments in August.

8 Planetfest 2012: Donna Stevens looks back at our celebration of Curiosity’s landing.

11 Incredible Upgrades: Bruce Betts reports on upgrades to Optical SETI hardware and more.

Planetary Society Kids: Why is Mars red?

13 Why We Explore: Celebrating 50 years out in the solar system, Paul Schenk looks at the missions and milestones that brought us to today.

20 The Battle Continues: Casey Dreier files an update on the state of the U.S. budget and the Society’s efforts to make sure NASA’s budget is spared.

Departments

2 Snapshots from Space: Opportunity is on the move.

4 Your Place in Space: Bill Nye looks back while looking forward.

19 What’s Up?: Planets and the Geminids.

21 Q&A: Sun-synchronous planetary orbits explained.

21 Factinos: We found a streambed on Mars!

22 Planetary Radio: See what’s going on in this insightful podcast.

23 MySky: Historical photos and other-worldly clouds.

astronaut on Phobos
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