This series of activities will describe how scientists study the surfaces of our own and other planets. First, we will discuss how to locate features on the surface of a spherical planet. Then, we'll talk about cratering, one of the most important surface processes in the solar system. Analysis of craters on the surfaces of planets can help scientists estimate how old the surface is, what its composition is, and what agents of change are important on that body. We'll discuss how craters are made, and what can remove them from the surface of a planet. Then, we'll look in detail at some of the planets in the solar system, and what we can tell about the history of a planet by examining its craters. Finally, we'll apply our understanding of the inner solar system to try to interpret some of the new images from the Galileo spacecraft currently orbiting Jupiter.
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Galileo Solid State Imaging Team Leader: Dr. Michael J. S. Belton
The SSI Education and Public Outreach webpages were originally created and managed by Matthew Fishburn and Elizabeth Alvarez with significant assistance from Kelly Bender, Ross Beyer, Detrick Branston, Stephanie Lyons, Eileen Ryan, and Nalin Samarasinha.
Last updated: September 17, 1999, by Matthew Fishburn
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