The Planets An HD Odyssey

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1 Cassini Unlocking Saturn s Secrets The Cassini mission is an international cooperative effort involving NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Italian space agency Agenzia Spazia Italiano, as well as several separate academic and industrial contributors. Cassini reached Saturn in 2004 after an interplanetary cruise spanning nearly 7 years. Along its path to Saturn, Cassini traveled past Venus, Earth and Jupiter in gravity assist maneuvers that increased the speed of the spacecraft. A scientific probe called Huygens was released from Cassini to explore the surface of Titan, Saturn s largest moon. The spacecraft includes 22,000 wire connections and 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) of cabling. 260 scientists from 17 countries hope to gain a better understanding of Saturn, its stunning rings, its magnetosphere, Titan and its other icy moons from the Cassini Mission.

2 Mission Galileo Galileo was launched October 18, 1989 on the space shuttle Atlantis. It was released from the shuttle by Astronaut Shannon Lucid. Used VEEGA (Venus-Earth-Earth Gravity Assist) to set the spacecraft s trajectory to Jupiter. The Jupiter approach phase officially began on October 9, 1995, 6 years after the initial mission launch. Galileo carried enough equipment to perform 12 different scientific experiments, which gathered various types of data about Jupiter. The scientific probe that was released from Galileo in July 1995 was able to collect 58 minutes of data on the local weather. It measured winds of 450 miles per hour.

3 Jupiter, Are You Ready for Your Close Up? The images selected to create are taken from data returned by planetary spacecraft which have explored our solar system over the past 35 years. Also used in the production are a number of movies which were created by the scientist teams. These movies animate specific features of particular planets. For example, a number of weather movies are shown during the Jupiter movement and a rendering of both RADAR images and topographic information allows a visualization of flying over the volcanoes of Venus. The graphics in the production are computer generated and great care was taken to create the most realistic renditions using real data returned from spacecraft. The majority of the images come from the latest missions and are produced in High Definition. All represent some of the most spectacular results made by NASA and a number of other organizations dedicated to unlocking the secrets of Earth s planetary neighborhood. Duncan Copp, Producer / Director

4 Mars Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter The four goals of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter: Determine whether life ever arose on Mars; Characterize the climate of Mars; Characterize the geology of Mars; Prepare for human exploration The Orbiter carries the most powerful telescopic camera ever flown to another planet; it can show Martian landscape features as small as a kitchen table from the spacecraft s low orbital altitude. Photos and information credit: NASA/JPL Mars Rovers: Spirit and Opportunity Think of Spirit and Opportunity as robotic field geologists. They look around with a stereo, color camera and with an infrared instrument that can classify rock types from a distance. They go to the rocks that seem most interesting. When they get to one, they reach out with a robotic arm that has a handful of tools, a microscope, two instruments for identifying what the rock is made of, and a grinder for getting to a fresh, unweathered surface inside the rock. Dr. Steve Squyres of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y

5 Mercury Missions MESSENGER MESSENGER was launched August 3, 2004 MESSENGER explores Mercury s polar deposits, crustal composition, core & magnetic dynamo, crust and mantle, geologic evolution, magnetosphere and exosphere. MESSENGER provides an orbiter for detailed characterization of the surface, interior, atmosphere and magnetosphere of the planet MESSENGER stands for MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, & Ranging Mariner 10 Mariner 10 was the first mission to use the gravitational attraction of one planet to reach another Mariner 10 was the first mission with 2 planetary objectives Launched November 3, 1973 Reached Mercury March 29, 1974 and passed by 3 times Mariner 10 took the first photographs of Mercury, which revealed an intensely cratered, Moon-like surface and a faint atmosphere of helium

6 Mission Voyager I & II Voyager I is currently farther from Earth than any other human-made object and continues to speed outward at more than 17 kilometers per second (38,000 miles per hour) The Voyager missions main goal was to explore all of the giant outer planets of our solar system (Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune), 48 of their moons, and the unique systems of rings and magnetic fields those planets possess. Scientists were able to extend each spacecraft s lifetime both were originally intended to have a 5 year lifespan, but they are now over 30 years old. Voyager II captured images of Uranus s five largest moons that revealed complex surfaces indicative of varying geologic pasts. Both Voyager spacecrafts carry a greeting to any life form, should that be encountered. The message is carried by a phonograph record a 12 inch gold-plated copperdisk containing sounds and images of life on Earth.

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