A Day in the Life of the Solar System

It’s an amazing time to be alive. Case in point: August 5, 2012. On that day, dozens of robotic spacecraft were exploring both Earth and sky. Some circled our own planet, sensors pointed downward in order to map the land, sea, and air. Others orbited facing outward so they could peer into deep space. Still others had left the Earth entirely, actually going to the places they were sent to explore. On August 5th more than a dozen ships were undertaking expeditions to Mercury, Venus, the Moon, Mars, comets and asteroids, Jupiter, and Saturn. Another probe was on its way to far, unmapped Pluto. Two others were even on the verge of venturing outside the Solar System entirely. A new Mars rover was about to land on the Red Planet, while two spacecraft already in orbit there were ready to relay the rover’s signals to Earth and take pictures of its descent.

Here’s what some of those spacecraft saw on August 5, 2012. The skilled people running those various ships acquired all of these pictures on that day (or very close to it; for example, the Curiosity rover landed on Mars on August 6th universal time, though it was still the fifth at mission control in California). Several of these images come from the data archives and have never been widely published before.

See the complete post on The Planetary Society site.

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