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Planetary Missions
points of interest
Luna - Soviet Lunar Missions (1959 - 1976)
20 successful missions; orbiters and landers
Apollo - NASA Manned Lunar Program (1963 - 1972)
1st men on Moon
Ranger - NASA Lunar Impact Missions (1964 - 1965)
photographic impact missions
Zond - Soviet Lunar Missions (1965 - 1970)
orbit and return; precursors to manned missions
Lunar Orbiter - NASA Lunar Mapping Missions (1966 - 1967)
Surveyor - NASA Lunar Lander Missions (1966 - 1968)
check out soil conditions prior to manned missions
Hiten - ISAS (Japan) Flyby and Orbiter Mission to the Moon (1990)
test of technologies for future lunar missions
Clementine - DoD/NASA Lunar Mapping Mission (1994)
Lunar Prospector - NASA Global Orbiter Mission to the Moon (1998)
search for polar ice deposits
SMART 1 - ESA Orbiter to the Moon (2003)
testing of technologies for future lunar missions
Kaguya (SELENE) - JAXA (Japan) Orbiter to the Moon (2007)
because I can
Chang'e 1 - CAST (China) Orbiter to the Moon (2007)
Chandrayaan-1 - ISRO (India) Orbiter to the Moon (2008)
Chang'e 2 - CAST (China) Orbiter to the Moon (2010)
take that, Japan and India!
MESSENGER - NASA Orbiter to Mercury (2004)
actual orbit March 2011; mission about to end
Mariner 2 - NASA Venus flyby (1962)
major discoveries
Mariner 5 - NASA Venus flyby (1967)
Venera - Soviet Missions to Venus (1967 - 1983)
flybys, orbiters, landers (6 or 7)
Mariner 10 - NASA Mission to Venus and Mercury (1973)
Pioneer Venus - NASA Orbiter/Probes to Venus (1978)
Magellan - NASA Venus Radar Mapping Mission (1989)
SAR mapping of surface; 100 m resolution
Venus Express - ESA Orbiter to Venus (2005)
magnetometers and spectrometers; still operational
Mariner 4 - NASA Mars flyby (1964)
Mariner 6 - NASA Mars flyby (1969)
Mariner 7 - NASA Mars flyby (1969)
Mariner 9 - NASA Mars orbiter (1971)
first spacecraft to orbit another planet
Viking - NASA Orbiters/Landers to Mars (1975)
two landers; both successful; no evidence of life
Phobos - Soviet Missions to Mars (1988)
failed attempts to land on Phobos
Mars Observer - NASA Mission to Mars (1992)
failed orbiter
Mars 96 - Russian Orbiter and Lander Mission to Mars (1996)
did not make it out of Earth orbit
Mars Pathfinder - NASA Environmental Survey Mission to Mars (1996)
bounce landing; Sojournor rover
Mars Global Surveyor - NASA Global Orbiter Mission to Mars (1996)
spectrometers; surface mapping laser altimeter
Mars Climate Orbiter - NASA Orbiter Mission to Mars (1998)
failed; metric unit problem
Nozomi (Planet-B) - ISAS (Japan) Orbiter Mission to Mars (1998)
poor orbit; frozen fuel
Deep Space 2 - NASA Penetrator Mission to Mars (1999)
penetrating probes; failed mission
Mars Polar Lander - NASA Lander Mission to Mars (1999)
failed communications; landing may have occurred
2001 Mars Odyssey - NASA Orbiter Mission to Mars (2001)
still functioning
Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity - NASA Rover Mission to Mars (2003)
still functioning
Mars Exploration Rover Spirit - NASA Rover Mission to Mars (2003)
recently shut down
Mars Express - ESA Mars Orbiter and Lander (2003)
Beagle2 lander; lost signals
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter - NASA Orbiter Mission to Mars (2005)
high-res imaging; spectrometry
Mars Phoenix Lander - NASA lander near Mars' north pole (2007)
spectroscopy; imagers
Mars Science Laboratory - NASA Rover Mission to Mars (2011)
landing scheduled for Aug, 2012
Pioneer 10 - NASA Jupiter flyby (1972)
Pioneer 11 - NASA Jupiter flyby (1973)
Galileo - NASA Mission to Jupiter (1989)
source of most of our good data
Ulysses - NASA/ESA Mission to study the solar wind via Jupiter (1990)
Juno - NASA Mission to study Jupiter's atmosphere (2011)
arrival in July, 2016
Cassini - NASA/European Space Agency Mission to Saturn (1997)
source of most of our good data
Huygens - NASA/European Space Agency Mission to Saturn's satellite Titan (1997)
lander; measured atmosphere and ground
Sakigake - Japanese ISAS mission to Comet Halley (1985)
Suisei - Japanese ISAS mission to Comet Halley (1985)
Giotto - ESA Mission to Comets Halley and Grigg-Skjellerup (1985)
NEAR - NASA Rendezvous Mission to Near-Earth Asteroid (1996)
asteroid Eros (13x13x33 km); orbit 2000; soft landing
Deep Space 1 (DS1) - NASA Flyby Mission to asteroid 1992 KD (1998)
Stardust - NASA Coma Sample Return Mission to Comet P/Wild 2
Dec '03-Jan '04 encounter; successful
CONTOUR - NASA Fly-by Mission to three Comet Nuclei (2002)
Hayabusa (Muses-C) - ISAS (Japan) Sample Return Mission to Asteroid Itokawa (2003)
partial success
Rosetta - ESA Rendezvous Mission to Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko (2004)
rendezvous in May 2014
Deep Impact - NASA Rendezvous and Impact with Comet Tempel 1 (2005)
impact on July 4, 2005; observe impact debris
New Horizons - NASA Pluto Kuiper Belt Flyby (2006)
arrival in July, 2015
Dawn - NASA Asteroid Ceres and Vesta Orbiter (2007)
at Vesta now; leaving for Ceres in August; arrive 2015
Mariner 10 - NASA Mission to Venus and Mercury (1973)
Voyager - NASA Missions to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and beyond (1977)
still going today; outside of our solar system; Star Trek I's
ICE (ISEE-3) - NASA Mission to Comet Giacobini-Zinner (1978(1985))
Vega 1 - Soviet mission to Venus and Comet Halley (1984)
Vega 2 - Soviet mission to Venus and Comet Halley (1984)
Genesis - NASA Solar Wind Sample Return (2001)
sample return vehicle crashed; possible success
A Review of Chapters 5 and 6
Details about the elements of our
solar system
What have we learned?
• What are terrestrial planets like on the inside?
– All terrestrial worlds have a core, mantle, and crust.
– Denser material is found deeper inside.
• What causes geological activity?
– Interior heat drives geological activity.
– Radioactive decay is currently main heat source.
• Why do some planetary interiors create
magnetic fields?
– Requires motion of charged particles inside a planet
What have we learned?
• What processes shape planetary surfaces?
– Cratering, volcanism, tectonics, erosion
• How do impact craters reveal a surface’s
geological age?
– The amount of cratering tells us how long ago
a surface formed.
• Why do the terrestrial planets have
different geological histories?
– Differences arise because of planetary size,
distance from Sun, and rotation rate.
What have we learned?
• What geological processes shaped our
– Early cratering is still present.
– Maria resulted from volcanism.
• What geological processes shaped
– Had cratering and volcanism similar to Moon
– Tectonic features indicate early shrinkage.
What have we learned?
• How did Martians invade popular culture?
– Surface features of Mars in early telescopic
photos were misinterpreted as “canals.”
• What are the major geological features of
– Differences in cratering across surface
– Giant shield volcanoes
– Evidence of tectonic activity
What have we learned?
• What geological evidence tells us that
water once flowed on Mars?
– Some surface features look like dry riverbeds.
– Some craters appear to be eroded.
– Rovers have found rocks that appear to have
formed in water.
– Gullies in crater walls may indicate recent
water flows.
What have we learned?
• What are the major geological features of
– Venus has cratering, volcanism, and tectonics
but not much erosion.
• Does Venus have plate tectonics?
– The lack of plate tectonics on Venus is a
What have we learned?
• How do we know that Earth’s surface is in
– Measurements of plate motions confirm the
idea of continental drift.
• How is Earth’s surface shaped by plate
– Plate tectonics is responsible for subduction,
seafloor spreading, mountains, rifts, and
What have we learned?
• Was Earth’s geology destined from birth?
– Many of Earth’s features are determined by
its size, distance from Sun, and rotation rate.
– The reason for plate tectonics is still a
What have we learned?
• Are jovian planets all alike?
– Jupiter and Saturn are mostly H and He gas.
– Uranus and Neptune are mostly H compounds.
• What are jovian planets like on the inside?
– Layered interiors with very high pressure and cores
made of rock, metals, and hydrogen compounds
– Very high pressure in Jupiter and Saturn can produce
metallic hydrogen.
What have we learned?
• What is the weather like on jovian
– Multiple cloud layers determine colors of
jovian planets.
– All have strong storms and winds.
• Do jovian planets have magnetospheres
like Earth’s?
– All have substantial magnetospheres.
– Jupiter’s is the largest by far.
What have we learned?
• What kinds of moons orbit the jovian planets?
– Moons come in many sizes.
– The level of geological activity depends on a moon’s
• Why are Jupiter’s Galilean moons so geologically
– Tidal heating drives geological activity, leading to Io’s
volcanoes and ice geology on other moons.
What have we learned?
• What is special about Titan and other major
moons of the solar system?
– Titan is only moon with thick atmosphere.
– Many other major moons show signs of geological
• Why are small icy moons more geologically
active than small rocky planets?
– Ice melts and deforms at lower temperatures,
enabling tidal heating to drive activity.
What have we learned?
• What are Saturn’s rings like?
– They are made up of countless individual ice
– They are extremely thin with many gaps.
• How do other jovian ring systems compare
to Saturn’s?
– The other jovian planets have much fainter ring
systems with smaller, darker, less numerous
• Why do the jovian planets have rings?
– Ring particles are probably debris from moons.
What have we learned?
• Have we ever witnessed a major impact?
– The most recent major impact happened in
1994, when fragments of comet SL9 hit
• Did an impact kill the dinosaurs?
– Iridium layer just above dinosaur fossils
suggests that an impact caused mass
extinction 65 million years ago.
– A large crater of that age has been found in
What have we learned?
• Is the impact threat a real danger or
media hype?
– Large impacts do happen, but they are rare.
– They cause major extinctions about every
100 million years.
• How do the jovian planets affect impact
rates and life on Earth?
– Jovian planets sometimes deflect comets
toward Earth but send many more out to
Oort cloud.