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The Planetary Report • June Solstice 2016

Illuminating Ceres

On the Cover: Ceres—the largest body between Mars and Jupiter—once defied categorization regarding its true nature. Is it a star, a planet, an asteroid, or a comet? Although scientists would eventually settle on “dwarf planet,” Dawn’s arrival will help us begin to understand Ceres. This enhanced-color close-up of Haulani crater shows smooth material and a central ridge on its floor, as well as evidence of landslides from its rim. The rays of bluish ejecta surrounding the crater indicate freshly exposed material. Haulani is 34 kilometers (21 miles) in diameter. Dawn captured this image from 1,470 kilometers (915 miles) above the surface.
NASA / JPL-Caltech / UCLA / MPS / DLR / IDA / Emily Lakdawalla


6 Unveiling Ceres: Simone Marchi on why Ceres is a scientific treasure chest for Dawn.

10 Pathway to the Stars: Jason Davis looks back at years of Society-led solar sail development as Breakthrough Starshot is announced.

13 Life, the Universe, and Everything: Mat Kaplan brings us Planetary Radio from Death Valley.

18 Partisan Peril: Casey Dreier looks at the U.S. President's impact on space policy and legislation.

20 Update on LightSail 2Bruce Betts details the progress we've made in the year since LightSail 1 launched.

22 We're Building a Movement! Richard Chute announces our new membership levels.


2 Snapshots from Space Mars' dark basaltic Namib sand dunes.

4 Your Place in Space Bill Nye on how the Society leads the way.

15 What’s Up? The Perseid meteor shower and more.

16 Happening on Planetary Radio Are you listening to this award-winning show?

16 On

17 Volunteer Spotlight Kate Howells applauds the Society's amazing volunteers in Washington, D.C.

Bill Nye and people
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