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.

News From June 17, 1997

Recent Publications
Images of Neptune 
from Hubble Space Telescope

Galileo Probe Entry into
Jupiter's Atmosphere

Preliminary Results from the Galileo 
Probe Net Flux Radiometer
Daytime Imaging of Galileo Probe
Entry Site - Jupiter
La Palma Journal (Galileo Probe
Entry Site Imaging)
Software Tools for Planetary Data Analysis
Interesting Images of Earth and the Planets

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


K-12 Educational Resources

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 Catalog
compiled by the Center for Advanced Space Studies, Johnson Space Center, NASA can be accessed, too.


Answers to your questions about the planets

For currently posted questions about the planets, please click here.

Answers to Questions from: