The Solar System

Click on the name of the planet to learn from NASA.

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Brahms Crater
Date: 30 Mar 1974

Thirty years ago, NASA's Mariner 10 spacecraft made the first of three passes by Mercury, sending back intriguing images of the planet's battered terrain. NASA will launch the world's second probe to Mercury - named MESSENGER - this summer.

This image of the crater was taken on the first flyby. Note the central peak. North is up. (Mariner 10, Atlas of Mercury, Fig. 3-2)

This crater (98 km diameter) illustrates the narrow hummocky rim facies, radial ridges, and surrounding extensive field of secondary craters. The well-developed interior terraces and central peaks are typical for mercurian craters in this size range. Note that the smaller craters in the foreground (25-km diameter) also are terraced. This image(FDS 80)was taken during the spacecraft's first encounter with Mercury.
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Pioneering Venus
Date: 5 Feb 1979

The forecast for Venus is cloudy, cloudy, cloudy. Although similar to the Earth in size and mass, Venus' slightly closer orbit to the sun create for it a much thicker atmosphere and a much hotter surface. The thick atmosphere was photographed above in ultraviolet light in 1979 by the Pioneer Venus Orbiter. Venus's extremely uncomfortable climate was likely caused by a runaway greenhouse effect.

Earth

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Opportunity's Traverse Through 112 Months
Date: 6 Jun 2013

This map shows the 36.295-km (22.553-mile) route driven by NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity from the site of its landing, inside Eagle crater at the upper left, to its location more than 112 months later, in late May 2013, departing the "Cape York" section of the rim of Endeavour crater.

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Jupiter's Violent Storms
Date: 9 Jul 1979

This Voyager 2 image shows the region of Jupiter extending from the equator to the southern polar latitudes in the neighborhood of the Great Red Spot. A white oval, different from the one observed in a similar position at the time of the Voyager 1 encounter, is situated south of the Great Red Spot.

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Spotting Saturn's Northern Storm
Date: 24 Dec 2010

NASA's Cassini spacecraft captured this composite near-true-color view of a huge storm churning through the atmosphere in Saturn's northern hemisphere. This storm is the largest and most intense observed on Saturn by NASA's Voyager or Cassini spacecraft. As scientists tracked this storm over several months, they have found it covers 500 times the area of the biggest of the southern hemisphere storms observed earlier in the Cassini mission. The shadow cast by Saturn's rings has a strong seasonal effect, and it is possible that the switch to powerful storms now being located in the northern hemisphere is related to the change of seasons after the planet's August 2009 equinox.

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Keck Telescope Image of Uranus
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NASA's Hubble Space Telescope took this color image of Neptune on 19 August 2009.
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In 2005, this image from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope was used to identify two new moons orbiting Pluto. Pluto is in the center. The moon Charon is just below it. The newly discovered moons, Nix and Hydra, are to the right of Pluto and Charon.