Astronomy: News from Venus

Across 36 million miles of space, the incredibly intricate instruments of Mariner II flashed their coded reports. But what had the spacecraft seen and recorded in its triumphant dash past Venus (TIME, Dec. 21)? Though the answers will be as many and varied as Mariner's many experimental observations, the first data deciphered by scientists seemed disappointingly empty: as far as Mariner's magnetometer could tell, Venus has no magnetic field. But even this negative finding has fascinating implications. It hints that Venus may be a more attractive hunk of space real estate than scientists have supposed.

Unlikely Field. At last week's Philadelphia...

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