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The Planetary Report • September Equinox 2016

Treasure Trove

On the Cover: It took decades. From the time a mission was just a gleam in scientists’ eyes, to the years of battling for funding, revising spacecraft designs, and, finally, just getting there, the pot of gold New Horizons found at Pluto has been worth the wait. On July 14, 2015, just minutes after its closest approach, New Horizons took this beautiful image of Pluto. Illuminated by the Sun, Pluto’s complex atmospheric haze layers are visible, along with the southern portions of the informally named Sputnik Planitia at top of the globe. False color has been added to this view to resemble the approximate true color blue of the popular backlit Pluto image seen at
NASA / Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory / Southwest Research Institute


2 Flight Ready: An insider's view of OSIRIS-REx.

8 Cold Case: Matt Siegler investigates Mercurian and Lunar ices.

13 Pluto at Last: Kelsi Singer presents the answers—and questions—provided by New Horizons.

20 Listening to Mars: Bruce Betts looks at microphones on Mars, and our names fly to an asteroid.

22 A Statement for the Record: Casey Dreier shares how the Society contributes to space policy discussions on Capitol Hill.


4 Your Place in Space Bill Nye on the Society's long-term efforts.

6 Members' Dialogue Space art and discussion of partisan politics.

12 What’s Up? Venus, the Geminids, and more.

19 Volunteer Spotlight Thinking globally, acting locally.

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Bill Nye and people
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