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The Planetary Report • March Equinox 2017

Icy Analogue

On the Cover: Starkly beautiful, Antarctica is the coldest, driest, windiest continent on Earth. Thanks to the Antarctic Treaty, it is also a protected ecozone that supports ongoing scientific research by more than 4,000 scientists from around the world. Here, otherworldly towers of ice appear (about 9 meters, or 30 feet, high) to march up the slopes of Mount Erebus, Antarctica’s only active volcano. Some scientists speculate that geologically active, watery moons such as Europa and Enceladus might also sport features like these.
Michael Carroll


6 Wonderfully Habitable Worlds? Franck Marchis expounds on what we know—and don't know—about the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system.

9 Antarctica: Michael Carroll and Rosaly Lopes describe the challenges of working and doing science at the bottom of our world.

15 The Fading Fortunes of Mars: Casey Dreier observes the rise and potential fall of NASA's Mars program.

20 A Planetary Defense Update: Bruce Betts reports on the work of our Shoemaker Grant winners, and an upcoming planetary defense conference.

23 Welcome to the New Uncertainty: Casey Dreier wonders about NASA's future under a new administration.


4 Volunteer Spotlight Curiosity unites us all.

4 Your Place in Space Bill Nye on a very busy spring.

22 What's Up? Planets in the morning and evening skies.

24 Snapshots from Space Emily Lakdawalla shows off a tiny moonlet inside Saturn's rings.

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Bill Nye and people
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