The Planetary Report • June Solstice 2011

Shuttle LIFE

On the Cover: They’re back! This scanning electron microscope image, enlarged 450 times, shows the abdomen and legs of a tardigrade, or water bear. As precursors to the Planetary Society’s Phobos LIFE (Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment) mission, a bunch of these seemingly indestructible little animals, along with a specialized group of microbial cohorts, flew into space as part of Shuttle LIFE. Launched on space shuttle Endeavour’s final voyage, Shuttle LIFE (along with Phobos LIFE), will test the idea that living organisms can survive in space, potentially “seeding” one world with life from another. More than 1,000 species of water bears can be found in all regions of our planet.


8 Shuttle LIFE Organisms Return: The science has just begun after a successful trip to space for our microorganism friends. The lessons learned from this experiment will aid in the preparation for Phobos LIFE. By Bruce Betts

10 Planetary Cave Dwelling: Using the existing shielding provided by caves is one viable option for habitation on Mars. Lava tubes provide ready-made caves just below Mars' surface. By Jacques Blamont

16 A Symphony of Voices in Vienna: What to do with 10,725 scientists in Vienna? Show how the Planetary Society is supporting the quest to find new planets! By James D. Burke and Andrea Carroll

20 Annual Report to Our Members: Looking back at the year in numbers and milestones passed. By Dan Geraci

Planetary Society Kids: Too hot or too cold in space? Demonstrate at home how spacecraft maintain temperature!


2 Snapshots from Space Viking redux.

4 Your Place in Space Change is in the air! Bill Nye speaks about the exciting new opportunities and challenges that the Society faces.

6 What’s Up? Don't miss the Perseid meteor shower.

7 Volunteer Spotlight Pasadena volunteers.

7 Q&A Does dark matter affect the speed of light?

17 Factinos Voyager finds bubbles; the Milky Way's twin?

18 Advocating Space Charlene Anderson says U.S. space policy needs a course correction.

22 Society News Celebrating Louis Friedman.

24 MySky A new Members-only benefit.

The Planetary Report • June Solstice 2011

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