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The Planetary Report • May/June 2010

Why Go Into Space?

On the Cover: This dazzling, visible-light portrait of the Orion nebula was taken by the European Southern Observatory's new Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA). Most of the light from the spectacular clouds comes from hydrogen gas glowing under the fierce ultraviolet glare of the hot young stars at the center. The region above Orion's center is obscured by clouds of dust.
ESO/J. Emerson/VISTA & R. Gendler, with thanks to the Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit


4 LightSail Update: Firming Up the Spacecraft Design: Louis Friedman updates us on the status of LightSail.

8 World Watch: The New Plan for Human Space Exploration: Louis Friedman voices The Planetary Society's view of the Obama administration's plan for NASA.

10 Why Go Into Space? Stephen Hawking gives a keynote speech upon receiving the Cosmos Award, explaining why we must keep exploring.

16 We Make it Happen! Asteroids, DVDs, and Dust: Bruce Betts fills us in on the Shoemaker NEO grant winners, IKAROS, and Stardust@Home.


20 Q&A How do we know how many NEOs are out there?

22 Members' Dialogue Opinions on NASA's budget, and taking care of Earth

23 Society News New headquarters, and the 2010 Cosmos Award ceremony.

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Bill Nye and people
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