Solar System Exploration at 50 Keynote Address
Dr. James Green, director of the Planetary Science Division of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, delivered the lunch keynote address on Oct. 25, 2012, during the Solar System Exploration @ 50 Symposium. His talk was entitled: NASA’s Solar System Exploration Paradigm: The First Fifty Years and a Look at the Next Fifty.
NASA’s exploration of the solar system began 50 years ago with the successful launch of the Mariner 2 spacecraft on Aug. 27, 1962. The spacecraft launched aboard an Atlas-Agena rocket and passed within about 21,000 miles (34,000 kilometers) of Venus, sending back valuable new information about interplanetary space and the Venusian atmosphere. The mission recorded the planet's temperature for the first time, revealing its very hot atmosphere of about 500 degrees Celsius (900 degrees Fahrenheit). The spacecraft's solar wind experiment was the first to measure the density, velocity, composition and variation over time of the solar wind. The probe stopped transmitting in 1963 after delivering a wealth of scientific information.
Since the success of Mariner 2, NASA successfully has launched a host of solar system mission, notably Cassini to study to Saturn and its moons, and multiple missions to Mars, the latest of which, Curiosity, landed on the Red Planet in August 2012.
Image Credit: NASA/Paul Alers