The Planetary Report • June Solstice 2015

We Did It!

On the Cover: <i>LightSail</i> captured this shimmering self-portrait from Earth orbit on June 8, 2015. In a June 10 press statement, Planetary Society Chief Operations Officer Jennifer Vaughn summed up the project by saying, “This test mission has been a high-intensity, high-profile dress rehearsal. Through the ups and downs of our <i>LightSail</i> test flight, our members, backers, and supporters around the world have cheered us on. <i>LightSail</i> is a tangible symbol of citizen participation in space exploration. Behind the simple beauty of an image of a shiny sail in space lit by the Sun is the collective effort of tens of thousands of enthusiasts who got this project built, launched, and tested. This successful test flight belongs to all of us.”


2 A Perfect Launch...: Doug Stetson reports on LightSail's dramatic test flight.

6 Pushing Back the Frontier: Jason Davis recounts The Planetary Society's history of advocating for a Pluto mission.

13 A Wider View: Jason Rhodes describes WFIRST, the new space telescope on NASA's drawing board.

17 Crowdfunding Success: Richard Chute reports on our wildly successful Kickstarter campaign.

20 Protecting Our World: Bruce Betts introduces the new NEO Shoemaker Grant winners.

22 Humans to Mars: Casey Dreier reports on a Star Wars solution for rogue asteroids.


4 Your Place in Space Bill Nye celebrates a season of success.

12 Factinos Bright spots on Ceres.

18 Volunteer Spotlight Kate Howells highlights our volunteers in Mexico City.

<>19 Happening on Planetary Radio Mat Kaplan talks to the people who make space exploration happen.

19 On

21 What’s Up? The Perseids, Venus, Jupiter, and Mars!

The Planetary Report • June Solstice 2015

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