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The Planetary Report • January/February 2000

Europa: Tantalizing Possibilities

On the Cover: On the surface of Jupiter's icy moon Europa, scientists have discovered frozen sulfuric acid and sulfur. This map shows, in false color, the distribution of sulfuric acid (red) and water ice (blue) obtained by Galileo's Near-Infrared Mapping Spectrometer. The source of the sulfur compounds may be Io or possibly an acidic or briny ocean below Europa's icy crust. Geologic processes such as tectonism and cryovolcanism redistribute sulfurous material, creating variable concentrations in Europa's disrupted terrain.


4 Mars Exploration: Faster, Better, Cheaper is Still the Way: Louis Friedman takes a close look at the loss of Mars Polar Lander, reflects on what we've learned from it, and considers whether or not there is an alternative to "faster, better, cheaper" in the exploration of the planets.

8 Planetfest '99: Michael Carroll shares some highlights from the celebration.

12 Searching for Life (?) on Europa: Charlene Anderson highlights the world in our solar system that might support life beneath its icy crust.


3 Members' Dialogue Encouraging words and assorted notes.

15 Q&A What are Lagrangian points, and where are they?

22 Society News Remembering India Wadkins; "Sounds on Mars" essay contest winner.

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