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The Planetary Report • December Solstice 2015

Exploration Milestones

On the Cover: In 2015, we citizens of Earth accomplished new feats in space exploration: we visited Pluto and Charon, entered orbit at Ceres, and brought a rocket’s first stage to a gentle, upright landing at Cape Canaveral. Following the 2014 Philae landing, Rosetta spent 2015 accompanying comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko in its orbit around the Sun, and both passed through perihelion on August 13, 2015. This photo was taken by Rosetta’s NavCam just a few months earlier, on May 9, and shows the comet bursting with jets of ice and dust warmed by the Sun.
ESA/Rosetta/NavCam/Emily Lakdawalla

Features

6 The Year in Pictures: Emily Lakdawalla takes us on a visual tour of exploration highlights for 2015.

14 How Can We Write About Science When People Are Dying? Nadia Drake reflects on science's ability to unite us all.

16 More Important Than Ever: Casey Dreier celebrates extraordinary exploration in 2015 and addresses hopes for 2016.

20 Planetary Deep Drill Field Test: Bruce Betts and friends traveled to the California desert for the drill's first field test.

Departments

2 Snapshots from Space Jupiter's changing face.

4 Your Place in Space Bill Nye welcomes new faces and new missions.

13 What's Up? A line of planets in the predawn sky.

13 Factinos Evidence for a ninth solar system planet.

18 Happening on Planetary Radio Mat Kaplan talks in-depth with fascinating guests.

18 On Planetary.org

17 Volunteer Spotlight Kate Howells describes how volunteers are inspiring the "Mars Generation."

22 MySky The Planetary Society's members share their passion through pictures.

astronaut on Phobos
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