National Geographic : 2013 Jun
TITAN RHEA IAPETUS DIONE TETHYS VENUS 40 missions MOON 72 missions MARS 38 missions ASTEROIDS AND COMETS 17 missions MERCURY 2 missions SUN 8 missions EUROPA CALLISTO PIONEER 10: Launch 3/2/72 VOYAGER 2: Launch 8/20/77 PIONEER 11: Launch 4/6/73 VOYAGER 1: Launch 9/5/77 Pioneer 11 discovers an additional Saturn ring Pioneer 10 New Horizons passed Uranus's orbit March 18, 2011; it will reach Pluto July 14, 2015 Voyager 2: First craft to approach Uranus, 1986 Voyager 2: First craft to approach Neptune, 1989 First craft to cross the asteroid belt Juno will reach Jupiter orbit July 2016 Heading to Mercury, Mariner 10 flew near Venus in 1974, taking images and getting a gravity assist to speed its trip Messenger Galileo: Exploration of Jupiter's moons Cassini: Exploration of Saturn's moons IO GANYMEDE Huygens probe released to Titan JUPITER 8 missions (including Juno) Galileo intentionally crashed into Jupiter, September 21, 2003 SATURN 5 missions (including the Huygens probe) URANUS 1 mission NEPTUNE 1 mission Asteroid Ida flyby; discovery of Dactyl, 1993 Venus gravity assist (twice) Earth gravity assist Earth flyby (twice) Venus flybys AMALTHEA NASA's NEAR-Shoemaker craft was first to touch down on an asteroid, Eros, in 2001 2007: New Horizons imaged Jupiter and its moons while getting a gravity assist that shortened its trip to Pluto by three years GALILEO: Launch 10/18/89 CASSINI: Launch 10/15/97 NEW HORIZONS: Launch 1/19/06 JUNO: Launch 8/5/11 SUN MARS JUPITER ASTEROID BELT SATURN URANUS NEPTUNE PLUTO EARTH VENUS MERCURY KUIPER BELT PIONEER 11 NEW HORIZONS PIONEER 10 VOYAGER 2 INTERSTELLAR SPACE VOYAGER 1 BILLIONS OF MILES 0 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 1970 1980 2000 2010 REACHING FOR DEEP SPACE Pioneers 10 and 11, launched in 1972 and 1973, were first to travel beyond Mars and capture close-up images of Jupiter. Both have shut down but sail on. Voyagers 1 and 2 set out in 1977. Each studied Jupiter and Saturn; Voyager 2 then sent the first close-up images of Uranus and Neptune. Both continue to transmit as they leave the solar system for interstellar space. ASTEROIDS AND COMETS On its way to Jupiter, in 1991, Galileo took the first close-up images of an asteroid (Gaspra) and found the first asteroid satellite (Dactyl, which orbits Ida). NASA's Dawn will reach the asteroid/dwarf planet Ceres in 2015. The European Space Agency's Rosetta probe will try to land on a comet in 2014. TO JUPITER AND BEYOND Reaching the gas giant in 1995, Galileo sent images and data from Jupiter and its moons for eight years. The craft Juno arrives there in 2016. Cassini still transmits images of Saturn and its moons; its probe, Huygens, landed on Titan in 2005. In 2015, nine years after launch, New Horizons will study Pluto and the planetary debris of the Kuiper belt. THE INNER SOLAR SYSTEM Soviets reached the moon first, deliberately crashing Luna 2 into the surface in 1959. NASA made the first successful trip to Venus with the Mariner 2 flyby in 1962; Mariner 4 sent images from Mars in 1965. NASA's current Messenger mission is the first to orbit and map Mercury. A fleet of solar missions monitors the sun's activity---and its impact on Earth. ART BY SEAN MCNAUGHTON, SAMUEL VELASCO, 5W INFOGRAPHICS. MATTHEW TWOMBLY AND JANE VESSELS, NGM STAFF; AMANDA HOBBS SOURCES: NASA; CHRIS GAMBLE SUN, ASTEROID, AND COMET IMAGES: NASA/JPL MISSIONS TO INNER SOLAR SYSTEM NASA U.S.S.R./RUSSIA FAILURE SUCCESS EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY JAPAN CHINA INDIA DEEP SPACE MISSIONS NASA NASA AND EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY COSMIC JOURNEYS Humans have traveled to the far shores of the solar system through the eyes of robotic explorers---spacecraft, probes, and rovers that have sent back progressively more aston- ishing data and images. The colored lines illustrate nearly 200 unmanned missions since 1958: flybys, orbits, soft landings, and intentional crashes, as well as some of the failures. No human has left low Earth orbit since 1972, when Apollo 17 made the last of NASA's nine manned missions to the moon. But odds are we will. A privately funded mission aims to have a man and woman circle Mars in 2018. Images not to scale. Missions launched through the end of 2012. Failures shown reached at least Earth orbit; many others failed at launch.