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The Planetary Report • November/December 2003

We're Going to Mars!

On the Cover: The Mars Exploration Rover has landed, unfolded itself, and stood up in this computer graphic montage. When Spirit and Opportunity arrive at the Red Planet, their landers will carry the Red Rover Goes to Mars DVD assembly, visible in the bottom view directly in front of the rover’s right front tire. Each DVD carries the names of four million Earthlings who signed up to send their names to Mars. Included in that group are the members of The Planetary Society.
Mars Exploration Rover renderings by Daniel Maas/Mass Digital LLC © 2002 Cornell University. All rights reserved.


4 We Make it Happen! Special Update: Introducing the Student Astronauts: Bruce Betts introduces us to the 16 students from around the world selected for the Red Rover Goes to Mars project.

12 The Human Side of Mars Rover Exploration: Jim Bell shows the human effort involved in the Spirit and Opportunity rovers.

18 Arriving at the Red Planet—A Real Nail-Biter! Melanie Melton Knocke details the sequence of events for Spirit's landing on January 3rd of next year.


3 Members' Dialogue Galileo and Pluto

11 World Watch The future of human spaceflight post-Columbia; China's first taikonaut

20 Q&A How do you tell the difference between a brown dwarf and an exoplanet? Where does atmospheric nitrogen come from?

22 Society News Our names on Deep Impact!

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Bill Nye and people
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