On the Cover: In Russian, the word "sputnik" translates to "traveling companion." Despite the friendly name and cute look of this 83-kilogram (184-pound) metal ball with its set of four leg-like antennae, the launch of <i>Sputnik 1</i> on October 4, 1957 shocked the world and set in motion events that resulted in the creation of NASA and the race to the Moon. The first artificial satellite, encased in a 56-centimeter (22-inch) sphere, stayed in orbit for 23 days, transmitting a continuous beeping signal to an astounded Earthbound audience.
4 The Age of Space—A Fifty-Year Joyride: James D. Burke recounts the beginnings of humanity's space program.
8 Out of This World Books: New space-related literature to grace your bookshelves.
12 Defining a Global Strategy for Space Exploration: Louis D. Friedman discusses the importance of space exploration for humanity's future.
11 World Watch NASA's budget, Vision for Space Exploration, and the International Space University.
16 We Make it Happen! Phoenix launches to Mars, and SELENE launches to the Moon.
18 Members' Dialogue Responses to Louis D. Friedman's "World Watch" column from May/June 2007; Why We Explore Space
19 Society News Stardust@home enters a new phase
20 Q&A Why do asteroids have a different iridium concentration than Earth? How far across is our galaxy?
21 Factinos Spitzers finds water in a young star system; Galex spies the tail of the star Mira
22 2008 Planetary Society Catalog New society merchandise, just in time for the holiday season