Exploring the Planets

Humans have wondered about the planets for centuries, but it is only in recent decades that spacecraft have revealed detailed views of them. To us they are no longer just specks of light, but worlds dramatically diverse yet bound by common processes that shape their surfaces and environments. Here, you can explore the planets, moons, asteroids, dwarf planets, and comets in our solar system, and learn about the spacecraft that travel great distances to study them.

Gale Crater
This view of Gale crater reveals where the Mars Science Laboratory landed in August 2012. The crater is 154 kilometers (96 miles) in diameter and contains a layered mountain rising about 5 kilometers (3 miles) above the crater floor. The landing ellipse contains a very dense and brightly colored rock type unlike any previously studied on Mars. NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft captured the image.