THE SOLAR SYSTEM

In the Solar System Channel, you can explore the planets and celestial objects around our own sun. Learn about topics such as Mars, Jupiter and the Moon.
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How Mars Works

Since the 1960s, we've been captivated by our planetary neighbor. How different is the planet next door, and what have we learned about it so far, compliments of the Phoenix Mars Lander and other spacecraft?

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  • Mars Explained

    Mars Explained

    Mars, which is the fourth planet from the sun and the third smallest in size, got its name because of its rusty red color. People associated the planet's blood-red color with war, so they named it Mars, after the Roman god of war. See more »

  • Our Amazing Solar System

    Our Amazing Solar System

    Some of the most interesting objects in our solar system are also the smallest or largest. In addition to the sun, planets, and moons, our solar system has a variety of small objects such as asteroids, comets, stars, meteors, and moons. These have affected what has happened on Earth in many ways. See more »

  • Can the curvature of the Earth only be seen from outer space?

    Can the curvature of the Earth only be seen from outer space?

    Can the curvature of the Earth only be seen from outer space? If you didn't know that the Earth is a sphere, there are three common observations you could use to convince yourself that it is. See more »

  • Could I see a flashlight beam from Earth on the moon?

    Could I see a flashlight beam from Earth on the moon?

    If I was on the moon and the earth was black (no lights were on) and a flashlight was turned on facing the moon, would I see the light? If I couldn't, would there be any way to detect any residual matter that came from the light on Earth or does light die after a certain distance? See more »

  • Earth Explained

    Earth Explained

    Saturn is the sixth planet from the sun and the second largest planet in the solar system. It is named for the Roman god of agriculture, one of the most important gods in the Roman world. See more »

  • If nature abhors a vacuum, then why doesn't the vacuum of space suck away all of the Earth's atmosphere?

    If nature abhors a vacuum, then why doesn't the vacuum of space suck away all of the Earth's atmosphere?

    If "nature abhors a vacuum," then why doesn't the vacuum of space suck away all of the Earth's atmosphere? See more »

  • Mercury Explained

    Mercury Explained

    Mercury is the closest planet to the sun, and it is the second smallest. It is the fastest-moving planet, so it was named after the Roman god of speed. Like Earth, it is a terrestrial planet, meaning it has a solid surface that you could land on. See more »

  • Planet

    Planet

    Planet, a large, solid heavenly body that revolves around a star and shines by reflected light. See more »

  • Pluto Explained

    Pluto Explained

    The smallest and most-distant planet in our solar system is tiny, icy Pluto. It is even smaller than our moon, and wasn't discovered until 1930 — the only planet discovered in the twentieth century. See more »

  • Saturn Explained

    Saturn Explained

    Saturn is the sixth planet from the sun and the second largest planet in the solar system. It is named for the Roman god of agriculture, one of the most important gods in the Roman world. Saturn is made mostly of hydrogen and helium, and its poles appear to be flattened because of its speedy rotation on its axis... See more »

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