The Planetary Report • March/April 2009

Deflecting Danger

On the Cover: Vredefort is the oldest and largest visible meteor impact crater on Earth. With a diameter of roughly 300 kilometers (about 190 miles), it is twice the size of the Chicxulub crater associated with the extinction of the dinosaurs. Named after the town of Vredefort, which is situated near its center, this crater is located in the Free State Province of South Africa. Vredefort is one of Earth's few multi-ringed impact craters; they are more common elsewhere in the solar system. This image was taken on August 29, 1985 by an astronaut on board the space shuttle.


4 We Make it Happen! Who Will Survive? Ten Hardy Organisms Selected for the LIFE Project: Amir Alexander looks at the LIFE Project, testing the idea of panspermia.

10 The Quest to Find the Next Killer Asteroid—Before it Finds Us! Steve Chesley discusses how the Pan-STARRS telescope is helping to protect Earth.

16 Annual Report to Our Members


19 World Watch Europa of Titan: Which will we visit next?

20 Q&A Exoplanet orbits and extraterrestrial coordinate systems.

21 Factinos More moons for Saturn; Pluto's atmosphere

22 Society News Annual audit completed

22 Members' Dialogue Save money and the environment

The Planetary Report • March/April 2009

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