Scale: 1012 meters = 1 Tm = 1 terameter

Within the Orbit of Jupiter

What an exciting time! Not since the grand tour of the 1970s -- when the Mariner, Pioneer, Voyager, and Viking satellites returned enticing pictures of all the planets except Pluto -- has there been as much exploration of Earth's neighbors. The orbits shown in this image are (from the Sun outward): Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, and Jupiter. There are also several ongoing planetary missions within this volume of space:

  • Galileo -- The exploration of the Jovian system ended with the Galileo orbiter crashing into the atmosphere of Jupiter. A wealth of information was obtained over the 9 years that Galileo orbited the Jovian system. This site contains the pictures and lessons learned.
  • Mars Exploration Program -- The Mars Pathfinder, Mars Global Surveyor, and current Mars exploration missions are accessible from this link.
  • NEAR -- A close flyby of a near-Earth asteroid named Mathilda followed by the rendezvous and orbit of a second asteroid, Eros. This mission ended at the end of February 2001 with an unexpectedly successful soft landing on the surface of Eros.
  • Cassini -- An exploration of Saturn and its moons and rings, similar to the Galileo study of Jupiter: Cassini is due to reach Saturn in June, 2004, after a journey of seven years. Cassini flew by Jupiter in December 2000, working in conjuction with Galileo to study the environment of Jupiter.

Copyright © 2016 by Bruce Bryson