The Solar System

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					The Solar System
  Advanced Space Academy
  U.S. Space & Rocket Center
Formation of the System
            -Solar nebula
              temperature and
            -Formation of solar
              system bodies
Life-scale…………………………...4.5 billion years
Diameter……………………………..…3 light years
Diameter of planetary zone………...7.4 billion miles
Known planets…………………….………..………9
Satellites………………………………… least 63
Known life-bearing planets……………...…………1
Largest planet……………………………..….Jupiter
Smallest planet…………………….……..…….Pluto
Planet with the fastest spin…….Jupiter (9:55.05 hrs)
Eccentric Mercury
         -Mercury’s orbit around
           the sun forms a wide
           ellipse partly due to
           the gravitational pull
           on it by the other
         -Mercury rotates on its
           axis three times while
           going around the sun
             Missions to Mercury
Mariner 10                          MESSENGER
  -Launched Nov. 3, 1973              -Launch windows are Mar 3. –
  -Fly-bys on Mar. 29, 1974; Sep.     Apr. 6 and Aug. 2 – Aug. 16,
  21, 1974; and Mar. 16, 1975         2004
                                      -Fly-bys during July 2007 and
                                      April 2008
                                      -Insert into Mercury orbit in
                                      April 2009
            Backwards Venus
-Relative to the other planets in the solar system,
  Venus spins backwards on its axis. Early on,
  when the planets were forming, Venus may have
  been hit by a massive object that reversed its spin.
  Venus spins east to west, so the Sun rises there in
  the west and sets in the east.
-Venus takes 243 days to turn once on its axis and
  225 days to go around the Sun. It is the only
  planet that takes longer to turn than to orbit.
          Missions to Venus
Mariner 2 –               Pioneer Venus –
Launched: Aug. 27, 1962   Orbiter -
Arrived: Dec. 14, 1962    Launched: May 20, 1978
Mariner 5 –               Arrived: Dec. 4, 1978
                          Multiprobes –
Launched: June 14, 1967
                          Launched: Aug. 8, 1978
Arrived: Oct. 19, 1967
                          Arrived: Dec. 9, 1978
Mariner 10 –              Magellan –
Launched: Nov. 3, 1973    Launched: May 4, 1989
Arrived: Feb. 5, 1974     Arrived: Aug. 10, 1990
The Moon
    Diameter: 2,160 miles (3,476
    Time to Orbit Earth: 27.3
      Earth days
    Surface Temperature: 253°F
      to -387°F (123°C to -
    Distance from Earth: 238,850
      miles (384,392 km)
    The Moon’s name: Luna
        Missions to the Moon
-Lunar Orbiter
-Lunar Prospector
Mars is similar to Earth
   in it’s axial tilt – so it
   has days and seasons.
It even has a thin
   atmosphere and
Water on Mars?
   Is there evidence?
  There are currently thirty-
    three known Martian
  They have been found on all
    continents except
  Four of them were actually
    observed to fall to the
    Earth between 1815 and
  Mars Meteorite Homepage:
      Present Missions to Mars
Mars 2001 Odyssey          Mars Global Surveyor
 -Launched 4-7-01           -Launched 11-7-96
 -Arrived 10-24-01          -Arrived 9-11-97

The goal of both missions is to do a complete
  mapping of Mars and analyze its atmosphere and
The Asteroid Belt
         -located between Mars and
         -rocky fragments left over from
            the formation of the solar
            system or a planet that was
            unable to form due to
            Jupiter’s gravitational pull
         -In 1802 astronomer William
            Herschel first used the word
            “asteroid”, which means
            “starlike” in Greek, to
            describe these celestial
              Jupiter’s Moons
Galileo discovered
  Jupiter’s first moons in
-As of Jan. 3, 2003, 40
  moons have been
Jupiter’s Moons
        -Outer moons are
          most likely
          asteroids that
          Jupiter has caught
        -Some of them even
          orbit backwards
          which is called
          retrograde rotation
         Missions to Jupiter
                   Present Missions to
                   Future Missions to
Past Missions to     Jupiter:
  Jupiter:           Europa Orbiter
  Pioneer 10
  Pioneer 11
  Voyager 1
  Voyager 2
            Weird Saturn
- Saturn is the only planet in the solar
  system that is less dense than water
- Saturn is the most flattened planet in
  our solar system
- There is nowhere on Saturn that
  could be described as a planetary
Saturn’s rings
The Cassini spacecraft was launched October 15,
  1997 and will insert into Saturn’s orbit on July 1,
-The Cassini spacecraft is designed to do a detailed
  study of Saturn, its rings, its magnetosphere, and
  its icy satellites.
-The Huygens probe, supplied by ESA, will
  scrutinize the clouds, atmosphere, and surface of
  Saturn’s moon Titan.
Oddball Uranus
          Sideways tilt - Uranus currently
           moves around the Sun with its
           rotation axis nearly horizontal
           with respect to the ecliptic
           plane. This unusual orientation
           may be the result of a collision
           with a planet-sized body early
           in the planet’s history, which
           apparently changed Uranus’s
           rotation radically. Uranus’s
           magnetic field is unusual in that
           the magnetic axis is tilted 60
           degrees from the planet’s axis
           of rotation and is offset from
           the center of the planet by one-
           third of the planet’s radius.
Rings & Moons of Uranus
              Mission to Uranus
Voyager 2
  -Launched: 8-20-77
  -Uranus Encounter: 1-24-86
  -flew by Uranus at a distance
  of 107,000 kilometers
  (66,500 miles) from the
  planet's center, threading
  through a broad ring system
  of dust- to boulder-sized
  particles. Ten new moons
  were imaged, in addition to
  the five moons already
                  Hot Neptune
Neptune has yet to give up its greatest secret: the source of
  the heat that rises from the planet’s center to drive
  storms in its atmosphere.
The young planets were very hot, and have been cooling
  since their formation. As Neptune cools, it contracts
  and grows denser: This process releases heat. The
  warmth of the blue planet is actually a relic of the
  newborn solar system.
Also materials within the interior have yet to fully separate
  out – the planet’s gravity is still dragging heavier matter
  toward the core, creating friction that in turn generates
Rings & Moons of Neptune
Mission to Neptune
         Voyager 2 –
         Launched: Aug. 20, 1977
         Neptune Encounter:
         Aug. 24 & 25, 1989
              Mission to Pluto
New Horizons – A
  Pluto-Kuiper Belt
  Mission Study
The Pluto-Kuiper Belt
  Mission will launch in
  2006, fly by Pluto and
  Charon between 2016 and
  2018, and pass the Kuiper
  Belt Objects by 2026.

                                      -Comets are dirty-ice leftovers
                                        from the formation of our
                                        solar system over 4.6 billion
                                        years ago
                                      -Comets are the least
                                        unchanged bodies in the
                                        solar system
“I came in with Halley’s Comet in     -Missions
    1835. It is coming again next       -Deep Space 1
    year [1910], and I expect to go
    out with it.”
      – Mark Twain (1835 – 1910)
                                        -Deep Impact

-Meteors or “shooting stars” are bits of material
  falling through Earth’s atmosphere; they are
  heated to incandescence by the friction of the air
  and will vaporize before reaching Earth’s surface
-Meteoroids are the bits material hurtling through
-Meteorites are large pieces that do not completely
  vaporize and reach the surface of the Earth
 The Future of the Solar System
The Sun will swell into a red giant engulfing
 Mercury and burning at least the surfaces of
 Venus and the Earth. The Sun will then
 cool and shrink into a dim white dwarf.
 Shifted into new orbits, the fiercely altered
 planets will still revolve around the dying
 Sun. Possibly, on a few favored moons,
 there is a chance that life could spring forth
-Secrets of the Universe card collection
-Images and information:

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