The Space Studies Board is a unit of the National Research Council, which serves as an independent advisor to the federal government on scientific and technical questions of national importance. The National Research Council, jointly administered by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine, brings the resources of the entire scientific and technical community to bear through its volunteer advisory committees.

Support for the work of the Space Studies Board and its committees was provided by National Aeronautics and Space Administration contracts NNH06CE15B, NNH10CC48B, and NNH11CD57B; by National Science Foundation grants AGS-1050550, AST-1050744, and AGS-1106426; and by U.S. Geological Survey grant G11AP20217.

Cover: Artistic rendition of Kepler-35b circumbinary planet. A circumbinary planet has two suns, not just one. The distances between the planet and stars are continually changing due to their orbital motion, so the amount of sunlight the planet receives varies dramatically. Illustration by Lior Taylor, See NASA Kepler News, Kepler Discovery Establishes New Class of Planetary System, January 11, 2012, at

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