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.

Front cover: A “self-portrait” of NASA’s Curiosity rover—a photo mosaic of raw images taken by the rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager, the camera on the end of Curiosity’s robotic arm, which accounts for the foreground camera distortion (available at, courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/ MSSS. Back cover: Valles Marineris, created from data captured during 20 individual orbits of the European Space Agency’s Mars Express (available at, courtesy of ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum).

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