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Copywrite 2001-2004, California Science Center
 
Photo credit: U.S. Geological Survey/NASA/JPL
Mission to the Planets

So far, planets have been beyond the reach of human space flight. But that hasn't stopped us from sending satellites, probes and rovers to planets in the solar system, gathering information about our closest cosmic neighbors. We even use satellites to study Earth! Compare the planetary spacecraft to see how they are designed for specific jobs.

   
Cassini-Huygens   A spacecraft that arrived at Saturn in July 2004 and dispatched a probe into the thick atmosphere of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan
     
Explorer 1   The first satellite to be successfully launched into orbit from the United States
     
Orion Sounding Rocket   A single-stage rocket used to boost scientific experiments into and above Earth's atmosphere
     
Pioneer Venus   The first American probe to enter the atmosphere of Venus
     
Viking Lander   The first spacecraft ever to land successfully on Mars
     
Sputnik   The first human-made object to orbit the Earth. Sputnik was launched by the Soviet Union in 1957.
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