On the Cover: This view of Venus, the first released by the Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer (VIRTIS) on the European Space Agency’s Venus Express, reveals swirling patterns in the upper levels of the planet’s thick atmosphere. The left side of this south polar view shows all that is visible to our Earthly eyes in reflected sunlight. The right side is an infrared view of thermal energy emitted by Venus’ overheated atmosphere. For more information on these images, go to http://planetary.org/news/2006/0414_First_Venus_ Express_
VIRTIS_Images_Peel.html ESA/NAF-IASF, Rome, Italy, and Observatoire de Paris, France
4 We Make it Happen! The Planetary Society Optical SETI Telescope: Bruce Bettsexplains the cutting-edge technology that will conduct a year-round, all-sky survey.
8 Third Time's a Charm: The Saga of Mars Climate Sounder: A.J.S. Raylchronicles the trails and tribulations of getting this weather satellite to Mars.
14 Express to Venus: Europe Successfully Enters Orbit Emily Lakdawalla witnesses the arrival at Venus from mission control.
18 The Chance and Necessity of Life: Reflections on AbSciCon 2006:Jim Burke attended this conference and shares his reflections.
3 Members' Dialogue Society priorities; meters and miles