On the Cover: Every day, it seems our vision of the Milky Way is enhanced, our knowledge of it expanded. With optical SETI, the search for laser signals from other stars, we have a fresh strategy for attacking the cosmic question: are we alone in this vast place? This view of Ara OB1, a star-forming region deep in the southern sky, was taken in April 1999 by the European Southern Observatory's 2.2-meter telescope in La Silla, Chile. This complex of bright and dark nebulae is located about 4,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Ara (the Altar).
4 The Planetary Society Presses Forward: Louis Friedman asks where we go from here following the failure of the Mars Polar Lander missione.
8 Flash! Optical SETI Joins the Search: Paul Horowitz explains this new method to look for life in the universe—partially funded by the Society.
16 Imaging Mars: The Hollywood Version: Charlene Anderson examines what upcoming films suggest about humanity's long fascination with Mars, past, present, and future.
3 Members' Dialogue Faster. Cheaper. Better?
7 World Watch Special Mars update edition.
20 Q&A Could Galileo use Cassini as a communications relay?
22 Society News Welcoming The Planetary Society of Japan.