The Planetary Report • September Equinox 2011

Beyond Water

On the Cover: The High Resolution Science Experiment on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has detected mysterious features that may be our first evidence of liquid water on Mars. This view, a combination of orbital imagery and 3-D modeling, shows a slope as it would look from a helicopter inside Newton crater. “The best explanation for these observations so far is the flow of briny water,” said Alfred McEwen of the University of Arizona. The study of craters, such as Newton and the much-anticipated Gale, brings us ever closer to knowing if life ever graced the Red Planet. For more information on this discovery, go to <a href=""></a>


6 Planetary Radio Wins Parsec Award: Somewhere out there, a very happy listener nominated us for a Parsec Award...and we won! By Mat Kaplan

10 Launching Organisms, Solving Anomalies, and Naming an Asteroid: Thanks to our members, new science is happening! But that's not all—you could help name a spacecraft too. By Bruce Betts

12 Vesta: A Revelation: Not only did he travel from Spain to Germany to work on an American space program, but he also discovered the answer to a nagging question. By Pablo Gutierrez-Marques

14 Target: Gale: Now that we know water played a part in Mars' history, where do we go next? Emily Stewart Lakdawalla digs deep into the process of choosing the next landing site.

Planetary Society Kids: How do we detect far-away planets? Build this simple project to amaze your friends!


2 Snapshots from Space Finally showing up at Endeavour.

4 Your Place in Space Bill Nye keeps traveling: Cornell University, Cape Canaveral, and the nation's Capital, all to advocate space.

7 Q&A Could we be affected by neighboring galaxies?

8 Members' Dialogue Defining a Planetary Society goal.

9 Factinos A Trojan asteroid; how about a double planet?

13 What's Up? A lunar eclipse in December.

22 Volunteer Spotlight The Mensa convention in Portland, Oregon.

23 MySky Members' photos of the sky.

The Planetary Report • September Equinox 2011

View Table of Contents

Help advance space science and exploration! Become a member of The Planetary Society and you'll receive the full PDF and print versions of The Planetary Report.