The Planetary Report • January/February 1998

Zooming in on Mars

On the Cover: Subtle blue-tray clouds hover over the dusty rose Martian surface near Valles Marineris, a series of interconnected east-west canyons spanning roughly 4,000 kilometers (2,500 miles). This is the first color image from the Mars Orbiter Camera aboard <i>Mars Global Surveyor</i>, taken last October 3 about 11 minutes after the spacecraft passed close to the planet for the thirteenth time. It was during these initial passes within the Martian atmosphere that <i>Mars Global Surveyor</i> team members noticed slight movement in an unlatched solar panel, causing mission officials to change the pace of aerobraking, and delaying the mapping portion of the mission one year.


4 The Sun Sets on Mars Pathfinder: Jennifer Vaughn celebrates the new trail to the planets blazed by this true pathfinder.

6 The Shiva Hypothesis: Impacts, Mass Extinctions, and the Galaxy: Biologist Michael Rampino combines discoveries from astronomy, planetary science, paleontology, and geology to piece together a possible story of what has driven changes in life on Earth.

12 Ice, Water, and Fire: The Galileo Europa Mission: Leslie Lowes talks about Galileo's next mission, zeroing in on Europa's ice, Jupiter's water, and Io's fire.


3 Members' Dialogue Going metric, getting into schools, and humans in space.

16 Basics of Spaceflight Where are they now?

18 News & Reviews Hot rocks; Mars mania.

19 World Watch Multiple mission updates.

20 Q&A What forms a comet's tail?

22 Society News NASA takes on the Mars balloon.

The Planetary Report • January/February 1998

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