Showing posts with label Planets. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Planets. Show all posts

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Neptune - Voyager 2

We've learned about space exploration of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus.

Next up is Neptune.

Neptune is the last planet in our Solar System.
We used to consider Pluto a planet, but it is so far away we've never reached it with a spacecraft.

Voyager 2 is the only space craft to visit Neptune.
It took 9 years to get to Uranus, and 12 years to get to Neptune in 1989!

When Voyager 2 made it to Neptune, it studied the atmosphere, rings and moons.
It discovered something called the Great Dark Spot, and many geysers on one of the moons called Triton.

It found four rings and six moons.

(from: wikipedia - neptune)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Black Hole

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Uranus - Voyager 2

We've learned about space exploration of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

Next up is Uranus.

It is so far away that only one spacecraft has ever come close to it: Voyager 2.
On September 5, 1977 the Voyager spacecraft was launched into space.
Voyager 2 took 2 years to get to Jupiter, 4 years to get to Saturn, and then 9 years to get to Uranus!

When Voyager 2 made it to Uranus, it found 10 moons that we didn't know existed, studied the air and space around it, found two new rings around the planet, and took pictures of the moons and Uranus.

(from: wikipedia - voyager 2)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Star System

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Saturn - Cassini-Huygens

We've learned about the first space exploration missions to Saturn, Pioneer 11 and Voyager 1 & 2.

On October 15 1997, we launched the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft.
After seven years it reached Saturn, and orbited the planet to take pictures of Saturn and it's moons like Titan.

We have learned a lot about Saturn from these pictures, including an interesting picture that showed a hexagon shape at the top of the planet.

(from: wikipedia - saturn's hexagon)

In 2004, the Cassini part of the spacecraft launched the Huygens probe to land on the moon Titan.
It landed on Titan and sent back some information about the surface along with some great pictures of things we've never been able to see before.

(from: wikipedia - huygens (spacecraft))

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Galaxy

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Saturn - Pioneer 11, Voyager 1 & 2

We've learned about space exploration of Mercury, Venus, Mars and Jupiter.

Next up is Saturn!

On April 6, 1973 the Pioneer 11 spacecraft was launched into space. It took 6 years to get to Saturn. When it got there it flew very close and took pictures of the planet, the rings and moons.

On September 5, 1977 the Voyager spacecraft was launched into space. It took 3 years to get to Saturn and sent back very good pictures of the planet, it's rings and moons.
One of Saturn's moons called Titan is very interesting because it has air and water like earth.
The Voyager got very close to Titan, but the sky around it was cloudy so we could not take pictures.

On August 20, 1977 the Voyager 2 spacecraft was launched into space. It took 4 years to get to Saturn and sent back very good pictures of the rings, moon and planet.

On both of the Voyager spacecrafts was something called the Golden Record.
On one side of the record were pictures and the other side were sounds.
They hoped that if anyone ever found our spacecraft they would know that intelligent life was out in space.

(from: wikipedia - voyager golden record)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Planetary System

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Jupiter - Pioneer, Voyager, Ulysses, Cassini-Huygens, New Horizons

We've learned about space exploration of Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars.

Next up is Jupiter!

We launched many spacecrafts to go fly by Jupiter and take close pictures.
Pioneer 10 in 1972, Pioneer 11 in 1973.
Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 were both launched in 1977.
Ulysses was launched in 1990.
Cassini-Huygens was launced in 1997.
New Horizons was launched in 1006.

All of the spacecraft took about 2 years to get to Jupiter, and most of them continued flying on to look at other planets.

voyager 1
(from: wikipedia - voyager 1)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Interstellar Cloud

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Mars - Pathfinder, Opportunity, Spirit & Curiosity

We've learned about the spacecrafts that flew near the planet Mars, and the ones that landed on the planet to take measurements.

The latest and best spacecrafts to visit Mars have been rovers.
These are types of spacecrafts that travel to the planet, then a small thing like a car drives around the planet studying it and sending information back to scientists on Earth.

The US has had some really good luck sending rovers to Mars!

1997 - Mars Pathfinder
2003 - Two rovers: Opportunity and Spirit
2012 - Curiosity

These rovers have really helped us learn about the planet Mars, the dirt and air and send back lots of great pictures!
curiosity rover
(from: wikipedia - curiosity (rover))

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Black Dwarf

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Mars 2 - 6, Viking 1 & 2

We've learned about the space exploration of Mars and the spacecrafts that got near the planet.
There have also been space crafts that have landed on Mars and studied the planet.

The Russian space program had their Mars program:

Mars 2 was launched May 19, 1971, and crash landed on the planet.
Mars 3 was launched May 28, 1971, landed on the planet and sent back information for 14.5 seconds before it stopped working.
Mars 6 was launched August 5, 1973, and crash landed on the planet.

The US NASA space program had their Viking program:

The Viking 1 was launched August 20, 1975
The Viking 2 was launched September 9, 1975
Both of these spacecrafts had orbiters and landers. The orbiters circled the planet taking pictures, and then launched landers to the ground.
The landers then did scientific experiments on the ground to test the dirt and the air.

viking program
(from: wikipedia - viking program)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: White Dwarf

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Mars - Mars 1, Mariner 4, 6, 7 & 9

We've learned about the space exploration of Mercury and Venus, next up is Mars!

The first missions to explore Mars were to take pictures and science measurements as the spacecraft flew by the planet.

Russia was first in 1962 with the Mars 1.

The US sent the Mariner 4 in 1964, the Mariner 6 and 7 in 1969, and the Mariner 9 in 1971.
The Mariner 9 was the first spacecraft to take pictures of the Mars moon Phobos.
mariner 9 launch
(from: wikipedia - mariner 9)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Red Giant

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Mercury - Mariner 10, Messenger

We have sent space crafts to study Mercury through the years, but it's difficult because it is closer to the sun.

The first space craft that was sent up was Mariner 10 on November 2nd, 1973.
It was sent mostly just to fly by Mercury and study the sky and look at the land.

The next space craft was called Messenger, launched August 3rd, 2004.
The letters in the name stand for: MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, Ranging.

It took almost 7 years for it to get to Mercury, and it orbited the planet for 2 years taking pictures.
It took close to 100,000 pictures of the whole planet!
mercury messenger
(from: wikipedia - messenger)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Yellow Dwarf

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Venus - Venera 7-16, Mariner 10, Pioneer Venus

We've learned that Venus space exploration started in 1962 with the Mariner 2 space craft that flew by the planet, and then after that the exploration continued closer into the planet's atmosphere with the Venera 3-6 and Mariner 5 space crafts.

The exploration continued on, as scientists tried to land space crafts on the surface, or get the space craft close enough to take pictures of the surface from outer space.

For 13 years, the Russian space program sent 10 different space crafts to study Venus.
Venera 7 - 14 all were landers that studied the surface after landing on the planet, and 15 - 16 studied the planet from space.

For 5 years the US NASA space program sent 3 space crafts to study Venus. Mariner 10 and did a fly by on its way to Mercury. Pioneer Venus Orbiter orbited around the planet to study from space. Pioneer Venus Multiprobe studied the atmosphere and also had some probes land on the surface to study it.
pioneer venus multiprobe
(from: wikipedia - pioneer venus multiprobe)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Venus - Venera 3-6, Mariner 5

After the Mariner 2 space craft got close to the planet Venus, scientists kept trying to get closer.

Starting in 1967, the Russians sent some spacecrafts to study the air around Venus (called the atmosphere).
The Venera 3 was first but it crashed on the planet and never sent back any information.
They sent 3 more spacecrafts, the Venera 4, Venera 5 and Venera 6.

The USA also sent the spacecraft Mariner 5 to Venus to study the sky.

mariner 5
(from: wikipedia - Mariner 5)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Luminosity Class

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Venus - Mariner 2

We've learned about the Space Exploration of the moon, all the way up to the Apollo 11 moon landing.

We've also sent space crafts up to study other planets.
The first one was in 1962, called the Mariner 2.

It was launched on August 27, and on December 14 it got as close as 22,000 miles from Venus.
mariner 2
(from: wikipedia - mariner 2)

That might not seem very close, but the Earth is about 25,000,000 miles from Venus, so it got a lot closer than we are!

The last time the space craft sent data back to us was on January 3, 1963, then it stopped working and has just been floating in space, orbiting around Venus for over 50 years.

The Mariner 2 was used to try and measure the temperature and collect other information in the air near the planet.

mariner 2
(from: wikipedia - mariner 2)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Star Absolute Magnitude

Saturday, October 5, 2013


A galaxy is a whole bunch of stars and planets all together in one area in space.

(from: wikipedia - galaxy)

Our solar system is in a galaxy called the Milky Way

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Planet Names

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Planetary system

We just learned about the Interstellar Cloud.

We learned before that our solar system is our group of planets (like Earth and Mars)
spinning around our star which is called the Sun.

We use the word solar just for our Sun, not for other stars.

For other stars with planets that spin (or revolve) around them,
we use the name planetary system.

planetary system
(from: wikipedia - planetary system)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Saturn's Rings

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Planet Alpha Centauri Bb

We've learned about the star system for Alpha Centauri,
and scientists now think they've found a planet in that star system!

The planet is called Alpha Centauri Bb.

It's not much like earth though, because it is so hot people think the whole planet is made of lava!

alpha centauri bb
(from: wikipedia - alpha centauri bb)

Saturday, March 23, 2013


Pluto's not a planet, but it used to be!

For about 75 years, Pluto was one of the nine planets in our solar system.
Then someone changed what it takes to be a planet, and now Pluto is called a Dwarf Planet.
(from: wikipedia - dwarf planet)

Scientists saw that in outer space near Pluto,
there were other things near the same size floating around.

In an area called the Kuiper belt they found four other Dwarf Planets
so Pluto's not really alone out there, it's just not a big planet like the other eight!

The five Dwarf Planets are Ceres, Pluto, Haumea, Makemake and Eris.

Saturday, March 16, 2013


Neptune is the eighth and last planet in our solar system,
but it wasn't always that way!
(from: wikipedia - neptune)

For almost 100 years, Neptune was known as the last planet in our solar system.
Then in 1930, someone discovered Pluto!

For 40 years, Pluto was the furthest planet from the Sun in our solar system,
but then in 1979 it's orbit brought it closer to the Sun and Neptune became the furthest (and ninth) planet.

It was like that for 20 years and then switched back to Pluto being furthest.

Then in 2006, Pluto was reclassified as a dwarf planet,
making Neptune the furthest again.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


Uranus is the third biggest planet in the solar system and almost the furthest from the sun.
It is over 14 times bigger than Earth
(from: wikipedia - uranus)

The most interesting thing about Uranus is the way it rotates or spins.
The way Earth and the other planets spin around, you can think of them like spinning tops orbiting the sun.

But Uranus doesn't spin like a top, it acts more like a ball rolling on the ground.
The orbit is completely sideways!

This means that for half of it's year, it's South Pole is facing the sun,
and for the other half, it's North Pole is facing the sun.

Since a year on Uranus is 84 Earth years long, that means it's sunny in the North Pole for 42 years!

Saturday, March 2, 2013


Saturn is the 2nd largest planet in our solar system, right behind Jupiter.
It's 9 times bigger around than Earth.
(from: wikipedia - saturn)

We already learned about Saturn's 12 Rings.

Saturn is a gas giant just like Jupiter,
and just like Jupiter it has a really big moon that's bigger than Mercury

The moon Titan is a little less than half the size of Earth.

Saturday, February 23, 2013


The largest planet in our solar system is Jupiter
(from: wikipedia - jupiter)

Jupiter is called a gas giant because it is mostly made up of gases like air instead of solids or liquids.

It is so big, that it is over 11 times bigger around than earth is!

We only have one moon on the Earth, but Jupiter has 67 moons.
One of them called Ganymede is about half as big as Earth, and bigger than the planet Mercury!

Another interesting thing about Jupiter is something called the Great Red Spot.
It is a giant storm that can be seen on Jupiter's surface.
great red spot
(from: wikipedia - great red spot)

The spot is over 100 years old, and is so big you could fit more than two whole Earths inside it!