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(Jon sez:)

Your Writer: Jon Kilgannon The future is fun: NASA provides a webcam which is broadcasting images of the cleanroom in Houston that contains the sample return canister from the Stardust probe. As I write this, in the middle of the night, the camera is showing a dimly lit room without any inhabitants. I imagine it'll be more lively during, for instance, the daylight hours.
(Mark sez:)

Your Artist: Mark Sachs One other bit of science we missed in all the excitement is that a few days ago NASA's New Horizons probe was launched, its mission to finish our reconnaissance of the Solar System by examining the last planet that hasn't gotten a closeup look -- Pluto. Except of course while we were waiting for the mission to be funded it turned out that Pluto wasn't alone out there but is actually just one of a whole horde of Kuiper Belt objects, and not even the biggest one, at that. The world of planetary astronomy is now in a happy tizzy exploring the gloriously meaningless question of whether Pluto should still be considered a planet, or just another rock in the crowd. Clearly this question needs some very smart people to answer it, and since there's no smarter (or better looking) bunch of people around than MoS readers I figured we should give 'em a hand. So if you like, mosey over to this poll and we'll get this straightened out once and for all..