The Solar System

In these early days of our exploration of the Universe, only our immediate neighbourhood of the Solar System lies within range of close observation and direct study. Despite our primitive methods of spacecraft propulsion and the huge distances probes have to cover to reach their exploration targets, since 1989 all eight planets and many of their moons have been visited by spacecraft (see the Links page for a list). Several asteroids, comets and a dwarf planet (Ceres is currently being studied by NASA's Dawn spacecraft) have now also been visited. With New Horizons' visit to Pluto in the summer of 2015, every class of Solar System body will have been visited by mankind. (Although you could very reasonably argue that Voyager 2's encounter with Neptune's largest moon Triton in 1989 was humanity's first visit to a plutoid, as Triton is almost certainly a captured trans-Neptunian ice dwarf.)

All the pages in the Solar System section will be updated as time goes on. We have much to learn about the Solar System, and we will do our best to make occasional additions on new topics and update pages as our knowledge of the Solar System expands. Nevertheless, our website will only provide an overview of Solar System objects; for more detailed information you will need to explore the Web. We will provide links to many official sources of information throughout this section of the site, to help in this regard.

Solar System graphic (NASA/JPL)

The Solar System [ NASA / JPL ]