Emily LakdawallaJun 10, 2019

The June Solstice 2019 Issue of The Planetary Report Is Out!

Small-Body Rendezvous

Planetary Society members and space fans, I'm pleased to deliver you my fourth issue of The Planetary Report, the 215th issue overall: "Small-Body Rendezvous." Two feature articles bring you the excitement and science of exploring two very different representatives of the solar system's smaller worlds.

Comet Silhouette
Comet Silhouette ESA’s Rosetta mission accompanied comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in its orbit around the Sun from August 2014 until its landing on the comet in September 2016. The comet was most active just after perihelion in August and September 2015, its jets carrying streams of primordial dust into space.Image: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA/Jacint Roger Pérez/Emily Lakdawalla

What did ESA's flagship comet mission learn about comet evolution, dust, composition, and magnetic fields, and what does it all mean for solar system origins? In Rosetta's Ancient Comet, Martin Rubin and Cecilia Tubiana hit some of the science highlights from the Rosetta mission to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. To support the article, designer Loren Roberts and I produced new diagrams of the Rosetta spacecraft and its trajectory around the Sun; the trajectory diagram in particular helps to place the Rosetta images and comet activity into the context of its orbital path and seasons. Choosing among Rosetta's many amazing views of the comet for the few that I could include in these pages was heartbreaking, so I encourage you to visit the Bruce Murray Space Image Library for hundreds more.

How is the Hayabusa2 mission proceeding at comet Ryugu? Makoto Yoshikawa and Elizabeth Tasker deliver a halftime report on the mission's progress, detailing the operational successes (and challenges) and the first science results. I'm very grateful to Yoshikawa and Tasker for taking the time during this ongoing mission to keep Planetary Society members informed.

I'm also grateful to Mike Constantine of moonpans.com for permitting me to print one of the less-often-seen views of the Apollo 11 landing site as a two-page panoramic spread in the center of the magazine, honoring the 50th anniversary of the landing.

Elsewhere in the magazine, you'll learn about all the ways that Planetary Society members have made a difference by supporting our efforts in planetary defense, political advocacy, public education, and technology development. And you'll find out ways that—whether or not you are a member—you can participate in space exploration.

My great big thanks to Planetary Society members for supporting The Planetary Report. Next issue: Planetary defense, Venus exploration, and—fingers crossed—a report on LightSail 2's launch!


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