On the Cover: Thick sulfuric acid clouds completely enshroud Venus, hiding the surface and making the nearest planet very difficult to study. Our knowledge of Venus has been obtained only with great ingenuity. If seen by the human eye, the face of Venus would be almost featureless; the cloud patterns
in this false color image appeared when seen by Pioneer Venus in ultraviolet light. The recent Vega mission used an old technology in a new way when it released balloons to study the atmosphere of Venus. NASA
3 Exploring Venus by Balloon: Jacques Blamont reports on the results of the Vega experiment.
6 Encounters: Interplanetary Explorations From Afar: J. Kelly Beattyshares the wonder and excitement of "encounters"—from Giotto to Voyager.
12 The Next Giant Leap: Space Exploration as Foreign Policy: Ann Floriniexplains why space exploration is a foreign policy issue in addition to a national endeavor.
5 Q&A What is Earth's position and velocity in the universe?
10 News & Reviews Gastronomy and astronomy.
11 World Watch Giotto, Vega, Halley's Comet, and CRAF.
14 Society Notes Student contests and scholarships; Mars site survey fund.