A research group at Space Science & Engineering Center (SSEC) is engaged in planetary
research from spacecraft and earth-based observations. SSEC scientists and engineers have participated in Mariner Venus Mercury (MVM '73),
Pioneer Orbiter and Multiprobe Missions to Venus, Voyager missions to the outer planets, and most recently, the Galileo Mission to Jupiter.
Currently SSEC is participating in a Discovery mission, Venus Environmental Satellite (VESAT) to investigate the atmospheric dynamics and chemistry
of the Venus atmosphere. K-12 Educational and Outreach activities at SSEC are undertaken through the Office
of Space Science Education. For more information about K-12 Education and Public Outreach programs, contact the Office of Space Science Education
and Outreach at SSEC. For other information about research projects and media materrial, please contact Terri
Gregory or Sanjay S. Limaye.
Software Tools for Planetary Image Data Analysis
Some investigations of the atmospheres of other planets are carried out at SSEC from spacecraft and earth based data. Many of these are carried out using
the McIDAS-eXplorer software environment developed at SSEC for analysis of planetary
image data collected by NASA's missions to the planets. Much of the data collected by missions such as the Vikings to Mars, Voyager to the outer planets, Magellan to Venus have been published on CD-ROMs by
the Planetary Data System. Additional information about the eXplorer
software can be found here .
Links to Local Astronomy Sites
Links for Space Missions to Solar System Objects
Launched in 1996
- Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Global Surveyor will be the first in a decade-long series
of orbiters and landers to explore Mars. The spacecraft will orbit the poles of Mars and provide global maps of surface
topography, distribution of minerals and monitor the planet's weather. It will arrive at Mars in August 1997 and be captured into orbit which will be gradually
circularized to begin data collection operations by end of 1997.
- Mars Pathfinder
Mars Pathfinder will land on Mars, open up and allow a six- wheeled
robotic rover to drive out and begin exploring the Martian terrain. Pathfinder was launched in October 1996, during the same launch window as Mars Global Surveyor, aboard a Delta rocket.
It will land on the surface of Mars on July 4, 1997 and begin transmitting data the same day. The single spacecraft will cruise directly to Mars, enter the atmosphere
with a Viking Lander heritage heat shield and land with the aid of parachutes, rockets and airbags.
Launched in 1997
Astronomy and Space Science Education
K-12 Education and Public
Outreach activities by SSEC scientists and engineers are handled through the Office of Space Science Education and Outreach at the Space Science and
Engineering Center with partial support from the Evjue Foundation, the charitable arm of the Capital
Times published by Madison Newspapers Inc. in Madison, Wisconsin through the Office of the Chancellor, University of Wisconsin-Madison. There are many sources
of Space Science educational materials for K-12 education. These include slides, films, posters, lesson plans, web sites, software for PC's and McIntosh computers, and workshops
for teachers. Generally these materials focus on space exploration, and solar system objects. A
compiled by the Center for Advanced Space Studies, Johnson Space Center, NASA can be accessed, too.
to your questions about the planets
For currently posted
questions about the planets, please
Answers to Questions