The Planetary Report • March/April 1997

Fantastically Weird

On the Cover: "Fantastically weird" slipped out as geologist Jim Head described the latest <i>Galileo</i> images of Europa. This is one of the most enigmatic worlds seen yet by spacecraft, and the closer we look, the stranger it gets. It may possess an ocean beneath a water-ice crust, perhaps hiding a potential habitat for life. Here we show the moon as it appeared from 677,000 kilometers (420,00 miles) away last September during <i>Galileo</i>'s flyby of Ganymede. At left is a false-color image, with contrasts enhanced to bring out compositional differences in the primarily ice crust. At right is a natural-color image, showing Europa as it might appear to an observer riding the spacecraft.


4 Waltzing by Mathilde: NEAR's First Asteroid Encounter: Robert Farquhar and Donald Yeomans report on this small object with great potential.

9 Farewell, Pioneer: James D. Burke discusses how Pioneer 10 will soon fall silent after 25 years—a victim of budget cuts, not the rigors of space.

10 Weird and Wonderful: Europa Keeps Her Secrets: Charlene Anderson tempts us with tantalizing Galileo images of Europa, and what they could mean for the potential for a subsurface ocean.

14 Sagan's Fire: A New Challenge: Bruce Murray and Louis Friedman ask for your help in guiding the Society to the best of all possible futures.


3 Members' Dialogue Inspiration and praise.

15 World Watch Upcoming European and Japanese missions; Russia looks at Mars '96 reflight options.

16 Basics of Spaceflight End-to-end data flow—the downlink part.

18 News & Reviews Jack Frost's artistry; extrasolar Europas?

19 Society News Mars balloon prototype explodes; META II restarts SETI.

20 Q&A Will we find Earth/Mars rocks on the Moon?

The Planetary Report • March/April 1997

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