APOD: New Horizons (2015 Jun 22)

Comments and questions about the APOD on the main view screen.
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APOD: New Horizons (2015 Jun 22)

Post by APOD Robot » Mon Jun 22, 2015 4:07 am

Image New Horizons

Explanation: In three weeks, the robotic New Horizons spacecraft will reach Pluto. As the featured video makes clear, though, humanity has been on an unprecedented epoch of robotic exploration of our Solar System's planets for the past half century. The video highlights artistic illustrations of Mariner 2 flying by Venus in 1962, Mariner 4 flying past Mars in 1965, Pioneer 10 flying past Jupiter in 1973, Mariner 10 flying past Mercury in 1974, Pioneer 11 flying past Saturn in 1979, and Voyager 2 flying past Uranus in 1986 and then Neptune in 1989. Next is a hypothetical sequence depicting New Horizons flying past Pluto next month. Assuming things works as planned, dwarf planet Pluto will then become the farthest world yet explored by humans. Of course, these Pluto illustrations are only a guess. How Pluto and its moons will really look may be a mixture of familiar things, such as craters, and unfamiliar things, such as ...

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Re: APOD: New Horizons (2015 Jun 22)

Post by geckzilla » Mon Jun 22, 2015 4:14 am

A pat on the back for the U.S. Kind of ignores everyone else.
Just call me "geck" because "zilla" is like a last name.

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Re: APOD: New Horizons (2015 Jun 22)

Post by Nitpicker » Mon Jun 22, 2015 4:23 am

geckzilla wrote:A pat on the back for the U.S. Kind of ignores everyone else.
:ssmile: At least they hired a narrator from Europe.

I loved the video on first viewing. A very moving, moving APOD. I've got a feeling this is going to be an interesting discussion thread ...

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Re: APOD: New Horizons (2015 Jun 22)

Post by owlice » Mon Jun 22, 2015 4:30 am

That voice... where do I know it from?
A closed mouth gathers no foot.

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Re: APOD: New Horizons (2015 Jun 22)

Post by Nitpicker » Mon Jun 22, 2015 4:38 am

owlice wrote:That voice... where do I know it from?
At the risk of being completely wrong, my first thought was "The Highlander":
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Lambert

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Re: APOD: New Horizons (2015 Jun 22)

Post by geckzilla » Mon Jun 22, 2015 4:53 am

Nitpicker wrote:
geckzilla wrote:A pat on the back for the U.S. Kind of ignores everyone else.
:ssmile: At least they hired a narrator from Europe.

I loved the video on first viewing. A very moving, moving APOD. I've got a feeling this is going to be an interesting discussion thread ...
Yeah, that's true. It's a very pretty video but I couldn't help finding myself baffled at the ending when it called 1962-2015 a legendary achievement for humankind and then mentioned only NASA projects. I understand that the U.S. is a major player historically in space exploration, but it's chilling to me to see that everyone else's contributions were apparently too minuscule for even the smallest commendation.
Just call me "geck" because "zilla" is like a last name.

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APOD: New Horizons (2015 Jun 22)

Post by Roberto » Mon Jun 22, 2015 6:09 am

This video was evidently fashioned in USA, because ... it neglects to mention the most recent (last month) flyby of Ceres, the other very important and closest dwarf planet in our solar system together with Pluto.
But acknowledging Ceres among the (dwarf) planets is a very ideologically-sensitive subject in USA, because it implies acceptance of the idea itself of dwarf planet, and the fact that Pluto is also one of them, not a "fully-grown" one. Pluto, the only "planet" to have been discovered by an American.
(As if America has not made enough major contribution to astronomy aside of the semi-fortuitous discovery of Pluto!)
It is saddening that, even among scientists, dogmas and nationalism may fog and interfere with a clear vision of the obvious.

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Re: APOD: New Horizons (2015 Jun 22)

Post by geckzilla » Mon Jun 22, 2015 7:27 am

Roberto wrote:it neglects to mention the most recent (last month) flyby of Ceres, the other very important and closest dwarf planet in our solar system together with Pluto.
It does mention Dawn, though.

I also would like to apologize for setting such a critical tone with the first post. Heh!
Just call me "geck" because "zilla" is like a last name.

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Re: APOD: New Horizons (2015 Jun 22)

Post by yaranoff@gmail.com » Mon Jun 22, 2015 8:25 am

I was born on July 14th 58 years ago! It took a while 'till we got to Pluto!

Animal of Stone

Re: APOD: New Horizons (2015 Jun 22)

Post by Animal of Stone » Mon Jun 22, 2015 8:45 am

Do not be so hard on the Americans. After all they timed such a monumental feat to coincide with Bastille Day [ the celebration of the unity of the french peoples ] A pretty awesome present i think in any language. Bon Anniversaire in advance.

hoohaw

Re: APOD: New Horizons (2015 Jun 22)

Post by hoohaw » Mon Jun 22, 2015 9:13 am

My goodness, we are humans, aren't we? I'm surprised a dozen other contentious issues have not yet been brought up in response to this self-promotion video from whomever. Anyway, I was born in Canada, and in my first year at Toronto, 1957, in class, Dr Scott announced that the Americans had just attempted their first satellite launch, and it had blown up just off the launch pad, and we all (being Canadian) burst out in loud, loud, cheers of joy! The Americans had fallen on their faces! Well, folks, we (I am now one) Americans landed two men on the Moon with Apollo 11, and again with Apollo 12, Apollo 14, Apollo 15, Apollo 16, and Apollo 17. And the Russians never successfully landed anything at all on Mars, which has been, and is being, systematically explored by us. The Europeans have in my opinion had their most fantastic triumph with Huygens, and their astrometry missions are of fundamental significance, and have a marvelous mission to the asteroid belt. And ... anyway, we should all be filled with joy that the human race has explored the solar system and also found the Higgs boson! How many other civilizations in the 13.7 billion year history of our Galaxy can say that? (Actually, I'd really like to know the answer to that question.)

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Re: APOD: New Horizons (2015 Jun 22)

Post by Ann » Mon Jun 22, 2015 9:34 am

While the United States reigns supreme when it comes to space exploration, it is also true that the U.S. has had more human losses in space (or on the launch pad) than any other nation.

It's a very good thing that no human being is likely to die because of the New Horizons mission (unless someone dies of excitement!).

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Re: APOD: New Horizons (2015 Jun 22)

Post by Nitpicker » Mon Jun 22, 2015 11:17 am

hoohaw wrote:And ... anyway, we should all be filled with joy that the human race has explored the solar system and also found the Higgs boson! How many other civilizations in the 13.7 billion year history of our Galaxy can say that? (Actually, I'd really like to know the answer to that question.)
I like the general thrust of your argument, although I'd prefer to think that we humans strive for reasons other than bragging rights. And I suspect that if we do find out about other civilisations in our galaxy, in our lifetime, we aren't going to be the superior ones. (I'd hope they are superior enough to be friendly.)

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Re: APOD: New Horizons (2015 Jun 22)

Post by starsurfer » Mon Jun 22, 2015 11:55 am

As a child, I remember reading about all the space probes that had visited the planets and was particularly inspired by the exploits of the Voyager probes. The images and information sent back by Cassini are nothing short of spectacular! I'm fortunate to still be alive to see Pluto explored by a space probe!

Also highly curious about tomorrow's APOD, very intrigued by the word bubble. :ssmile:

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Re: APOD: New Horizons (2015 Jun 22)

Post by henrystar » Mon Jun 22, 2015 12:28 pm

Nitpicker wrote:
hoohaw wrote: And I suspect that if we do find out about other civilisations in our galaxy, in our lifetime, we aren't going to be the superior ones. (I'd hope they are superior enough to be friendly.)
There is no suspicion about it, it is close to being a theorem. For there to be any significant possibility of contact, intelligent civilizations MUST last for at the very least millions of years. And surely if such civilizations existed, we would easily have become aware of their existence. To me, this adds up to near certainty that at least in our own Galaxy (and Andromeda), we are it. And I do judge that in 13.6 billion years, other civilizations in our Galaxy and in Andromeda HAVE discovered the Higgs. If I am right, that is bad news for us: they must all have blown it, and destroyed themselves. "All we learn from history is that we never learn from history." Please folks, the stakes are high - this one time, can a civilization beat the odds, and survive to colonize the Galaxy? Please? Please?

Dad is watching

Re: APOD: New Horizons (2015 Jun 22)

Post by Dad is watching » Mon Jun 22, 2015 12:44 pm

When we watched the video, it showed some sort of geysers or eruptions from the surface (cloud tops) of both Jupiter and Neptune. I have not read anything about this process or seen anything that relate these events as fact. Was this just an outdated video of an artists conception, or is the generally availability of scientific information on these planets out of date?

Guest

Re: APOD: New Horizons (2015 Jun 22)

Post by Guest » Mon Jun 22, 2015 1:04 pm

Watch again more carefully: those eruptions are from the surfaces of Io and Triton, not Jupiter and Neptune.

guesticles

Re: APOD: New Horizons (2015 Jun 22)

Post by guesticles » Mon Jun 22, 2015 1:06 pm

henrystar wrote:
Nitpicker wrote:
hoohaw wrote: And I suspect that if we do find out about other civilisations in our galaxy, in our lifetime, we aren't going to be the superior ones. (I'd hope they are superior enough to be friendly.)
There is no suspicion about it, it is close to being a theorem. For there to be any significant possibility of contact, intelligent civilizations MUST last for at the very least millions of years. And surely if such civilizations existed, we would easily have become aware of their existence. To me, this adds up to near certainty that at least in our own Galaxy (and Andromeda), we are it. And I do judge that in 13.6 billion years, other civilizations in our Galaxy and in Andromeda HAVE discovered the Higgs. If I am right, that is bad news for us: they must all have blown it, and destroyed themselves. "All we learn from history is that we never learn from history." Please folks, the stakes are high - this one time, can a civilization beat the odds, and survive to colonize the Galaxy? Please? Please?
Not sure I follow your logic here...why would we have easily become aware of the existence of any hypothetical alien civilization? It's only in the last few years that we've even been able to detect extrasolar planets. There could be any number of intelligent civilizations in the Milky Way, but we don't really have a method of detecting them if they do exist.

Dad is watching

Re: APOD: New Horizons (2015 Jun 22)

Post by Dad is watching » Mon Jun 22, 2015 1:11 pm

Guest wrote:Watch again more carefully: those eruptions are from the surfaces of Io and Triton, not Jupiter and Neptune.
We see the mistake we made, and now understand why we interpreted the images on the video as we did. We withdraw our question and please accept our apologies...

Guest

Re: APOD: New Horizons (2015 Jun 22)

Post by Guest » Mon Jun 22, 2015 1:12 pm

guesticles wrote:Not sure I follow your logic here...why would we have easily become aware of the existence of any hypothetical alien civilization? It's only in the last few years that we've even been able to detect extrasolar planets. There could be any number of intelligent civilizations in the Milky Way, but we don't really have a method of detecting them if they do exist.
He's probably thinking that within a million years a technological civilization would be able to fill the Galaxy, and start visibly modifying it with Dyson spheres and the like. But aliens are not on Earth, and we see no evidence of artifices off Earth.

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Re: APOD: New Horizons (2015 Jun 22)

Post by JuanAustin » Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:13 pm

.....such as alien ice hybrid monsters made of helium, dark matter and a new form of organic compounds not of this galaxy! :D
JuanAustin

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Re: APOD: New Horizons (2015 Jun 22)

Post by Chris Peterson » Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:23 pm

geckzilla wrote:A pat on the back for the U.S. Kind of ignores everyone else.
Seen simply as a video about robotic exploration, it also ignores most of the U.S. But that's not what it's about. It's about firsts. So it highlights the first successful probes of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. All of those were American missions. The first successful asteroid probe was also American, although it wasn't Dawn, so that one is a little out of place here.
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Re: APOD: New Horizons (2015 Jun 22)

Post by henrystar » Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:23 pm

I finally noticed that APOD uses date format e.g. 2015 Jun 22. That is GREAT! It is now 2015 Jun 22 Mon 14:22 UT

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Re: APOD: New Horizons (2015 Jun 22)

Post by Chris Peterson » Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:28 pm

henrystar wrote:
Nitpicker wrote:
hoohaw wrote: And I suspect that if we do find out about other civilisations in our galaxy, in our lifetime, we aren't going to be the superior ones. (I'd hope they are superior enough to be friendly.)
There is no suspicion about it, it is close to being a theorem. For there to be any significant possibility of contact, intelligent civilizations MUST last for at the very least millions of years. And surely if such civilizations existed, we would easily have become aware of their existence. To me, this adds up to near certainty that at least in our own Galaxy (and Andromeda), we are it. And I do judge that in 13.6 billion years, other civilizations in our Galaxy and in Andromeda HAVE discovered the Higgs. If I am right, that is bad news for us: they must all have blown it, and destroyed themselves. "All we learn from history is that we never learn from history." Please folks, the stakes are high - this one time, can a civilization beat the odds, and survive to colonize the Galaxy? Please? Please?
Any other civilizations are likely to be far older, but not necessarily much more advanced. We may already be near the pinnacle of technological achievement. We are close to knowing all the laws of nature. There's no reason to think we won't within the next few centuries at most. And we've learned engineering so well that, given the physical knowledge, we will soon be able to make any machine which is physically possible.

It seems more likely that the superiority of other civilizations will be social, not technological. They will be the ones that figured out how to create stable societies. That's something we haven't figured out. But we will, and very soon, or we will be extinct and not needing to consider alien civilizations.
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Re: APOD: New Horizons (2015 Jun 22)

Post by BMAONE23 » Mon Jun 22, 2015 6:25 pm

A listing of solar system exploration missions. 1946 to 2015

1940s

The first photo taken from space
1946
United States V-2 rocket – 24 October 1946 – First photograph of Earth from space

1950s
Sputnik 1 – First Earth orbiter
1957
Soviet Union Sputnik 1 – 4 October 1957 – First Earth orbiter
Soviet Union Sputnik 2 – 3 November 1957 – Earth orbiter, first animal in orbit, a dog named Laika

1958
United States Explorer 1 – 1 February 1958 – Earth orbiter; first American orbiter, discovered Van Allen radiation belts
United States Vanguard 1 – 17 March 1958 – Earth orbiter; oldest spacecraft still in Earth orbit

1959
Soviet Union Luna 1 – 2 January 1959 – First lunar flyby (attempted lunar impact?)
United States Pioneer 4 – 3 March 1959 – Lunar flyby
Soviet Union Luna 2 – 12 September 1959 – First lunar impact
Soviet Union Luna 3 – 4 October 1959 – Lunar flyby; First images of far side of Moon

1960s

Vostok 1 – First manned Earth orbiter
Mariner 2 – First Venus flyby
Mariner 4 – First Mars flyby
Luna 9 – First lunar lander
Venera 4 – First Venus atmospheric probe
Zond 5 – First lunar flyby and return to Earth
Apollo 8 - First manned lunar orbiter
Apollo 11 – First manned lunar landing

1960
United States Pioneer 5 – 11 March 1960 – Interplanetary space investigations

1961
Soviet Union Venera 1 – 12 February 1961 – Venus flyby (contact lost before flyby)
Soviet Union Vostok 1 – 12 April 1961 – First manned Earth orbiter
United States Mercury-Redstone 3 – 5 May 1961 – First American in space
United States Ranger 1 – 23 August 1961 – Attempted lunar test flight
United States Ranger 2 – 18 November 1961 – Attempted lunar test flight

1962
United States Ranger 3 – 26 January 1962 – Attempted lunar impact (missed Moon)
United States Mercury-Atlas 6 – 20 February 1962 – First American manned Earth orbiter
United States Ranger 4 – 23 April 1962 – Lunar impact (but unintentionally hit lunar far-side and returned no data)
United States Mariner 2 – 27 August 1962 – First successful planetary encounter, First successful Venus flyby
United States Ranger 5 – 18 October 1962 – Attempted lunar impact (missed Moon)
Soviet Union Mars 1 – 1 November 1962 – Mars flyby (contact lost)

1963
Soviet Union Luna 4 – 2 April 1963 – Attempted lunar lander (missed Moon)
Soviet Union Cosmos 21 – 11 November 1963 – Attempted Venera test flight?

1964
United States Ranger 6 – 30 January 1964 – Lunar impact (cameras failed)
Soviet Union Zond 1 – 2 April 1964 – Venus flyby (contact lost)
United States Ranger 7 – 28 July 1964 – Lunar impact
United States Mariner 3 – 5 November 1964 – Attempted Mars flyby (failed to attain correct trajectory)
United States Mariner 4 – 28 November 1964 – First Mars flyby
Soviet Union Zond 2 – 30 November 1964 – Mars flyby (contact lost)

1965
United States Ranger 8 – 17 February 1965 – Lunar impact
United States Ranger 9 – 21 March 1965 – Lunar impact
Soviet Union Luna 5 – 9 May 1965 – Lunar impact (attempted soft landing)
Soviet Union Luna 6 – 8 June 1965 – Attempted lunar lander (missed Moon)
Soviet Union Zond 3 – 18 July 1965 – Lunar flyby
Soviet Union Luna 7 – 4 October 1965 – Lunar impact (attempted soft landing)
Soviet Union Venera 2 – 12 November 1965 – Venus flyby (contact lost)
Soviet Union Venera 3 – 16 November 1965 – Venus lander (contact lost) – First spacecraft to reach another planet's surface, First Venus impact
Soviet Union Luna 8 – 3 December 1965 – Lunar impact (attempted soft landing?)
United States Pioneer 6 – 16 December 1965 – "Space weather" observations

1966 AS-201
Soviet Union Luna 9 – 31 January 1966 – First lunar lander
United States AS-201 – 26 February 1966 – Lunar program test flight
Soviet Union Luna 10 – 31 March 1966 – First lunar orbiter
United States Surveyor 1 – 30 May 1966 – Lunar lander
United States Explorer 33 – 1 July 1966 – Attempted lunar orbiter (failed to attain lunar orbit)
United States Lunar Orbiter 1 – 10 August 1966 – Lunar orbiter
United States Pioneer 7 – 17 August 1966 – "Space weather" observations
Soviet Union Luna 11 – 24 August 1966 – Lunar orbiter
United States Surveyor 2 – 20 September 1966 – Attempted lunar lander (crashed into Moon)
Soviet Union Luna 12 – 22 October 1966 – Lunar orbiter
United States Lunar Orbiter 2 – 6 November 1966 – Lunar orbiter
Soviet Union Luna 13 – 21 December 1966 – Lunar lander

1967
United States Lunar Orbiter 3 – 4 February 1967 – Lunar orbiter
United States Surveyor 3 – 17 April 1967 – Lunar lander
United States Lunar Orbiter 4 – 8 May 1967 – Lunar orbiter
Soviet Union Venera 4 – 12 June 1967 – First Venus atmospheric probe
United States Mariner 5 – 14 June 1967 – Venus flyby
United States Surveyor 4 – 14 July 1967 – Attempted lunar lander (crashed into Moon)
United States Explorer 35 (IMP-E) – 19 July 1967 – Lunar orbiter
United States Lunar Orbiter 5 – 1 August 1967 – Lunar orbiter
United States Surveyor 5 – 8 September 1967 – Lunar lander
United States Surveyor 6 – 7 November 1967 – Lunar lander
United States Apollo 4 – 9 November 1967 – Lunar program test flight
United States Pioneer 8 – 13 December 1967 – "Space weather" observations

1968
United States Surveyor 7 – 7 January 1968 – Lunar lander
United States Apollo 5 – 22 January 1968 – Lunar program test flight
Soviet Union Zond 4 – 2 March 1968 – Lunar program test flight
Soviet Union Luna 14 – 7 April 1968 – Lunar orbiter
Soviet Union Zond 5 – 15 September 1968 – First lunar flyby and return to Earth
United States Apollo 7 – 22 October 1968 – Lunar program test flight (manned)
United States Pioneer 9 – 8 November 1968 – "Space weather" observations
Soviet Union Zond 6 – 10 November 1968 – Lunar flyby and return to Earth
United States Apollo 8 – 21 December 1968 – First manned lunar orbiter

1969
Soviet Union Venera 5 – 5 January 1969 – Venus atmospheric probe
Soviet Union Venera 6 – 10 January 1969 – Venus atmospheric probe
United States Mariner 6 – 25 February 1969 – Mars flyby
United States Apollo 9 – 3 March 1969 – Manned lunar lander (LEM) flight test
United States Mariner 7 – 27 March 1969 – Mars flyby
United States Apollo 10 – 18 May 1969 – Manned lunar orbiter
Soviet Union Luna E-8-5 No.402 – 14 June 1969 – Attempted lunar sample return, first attempted sample return mission
Soviet Union Luna 15 – 13 July 1969 – Second attempted lunar sample return
United States Apollo 11 – 16 July 1969 – First manned lunar landing and first successful sample return mission
Soviet Union Zond 7 – 7 August 1969 – Lunar flyby and return to Earth
United States Apollo 12 – 14 November 1969 – Manned lunar landing

1970s

Venera 7 – First Venus lander
Mars 3 – First Mars lander
Pioneer 10 – First Jupiter flyby
Mariner 10 – First Mercury flyby
Voyager 2 – First Uranus/first Neptune flyby

1970
United States Apollo 13 – 11 April 1970 – Manned lunar flyby and return to Earth (manned lunar landing aborted) Farthest from Earth a human has gone
Soviet Union Venera 7 – 17 August 1970 – First Venus lander
Soviet Union Luna 16 – 12 September 1970 – First robotic lunar sample return
Soviet Union Zond 8 – 20 October 1970 – Lunar flyby and return to Earth
Soviet Union Luna 17/Lunokhod 1 – 10 November 1970 – First lunar rover

1971
United States Apollo 14 – 31 January 1971 – Manned lunar landing
Soviet Union Salyut 1 – 19 April 1971 – First space station
United States Mariner 9 – 30 May 1971 – First Mars orbiter
Soviet Union Mars 2 – 19 May 1971 – Mars orbiter and attempted lander; First Mars impact
Soviet Union Mars 3 – 28 May 1971 – Mars orbiter, First Mars lander (lost contact after 14.5s) and First Mars atmospheric probe
United States Apollo 15 – 26 July 1971 – Manned lunar landing; First manned lunar rover
Soviet Union Luna 18 – 2 September 1971 – Attempted lunar sample return (crashed into Moon)
Soviet Union Luna 19 – 28 September 1971 – Lunar orbiter

1972
Soviet Union Luna 20 – 14 February 1972 – Lunar robotic sample return
United States Pioneer 10 – 3 March 1972 – First Jupiter flyby
Soviet Union Venera 8 – 27 March 1972 – Venus lander
United States Apollo 16 – 16 April 1972 – Manned lunar landing
United States Apollo 17 – 7 December 1972 – Last manned lunar landing

1973
Soviet Union Luna 21/Lunokhod 2 – 8 January 1973 – Lunar rover
United States Pioneer 11 – 5 April 1973 – Jupiter flyby and First Saturn flyby
United States Skylab – 14 May 1973 – First American space station
United States Explorer 49 (RAE-B) – 10 June 1973 – Lunar orbiter/radio astronomy
Soviet Union Mars 4 – 21 July 1973 – Mars flyby (attempted Mars orbiter)
Soviet Union Mars 5 – 25 July 1973 – Mars orbiter
Soviet Union Mars 6 – 5 August 1973 – Mars orbiter and attempted lander (failed due to damage on Mars landing)
Soviet Union Mars 7 – 9 August 1973 – Mars flyby and attempted lander (missed Mars)
United States Mariner 10 – 4 November 1973 – Venus flyby and First Mercury flyby

1974
Soviet Union Luna 22 – 2 June 1974 – Lunar orbiter
Soviet Union Luna 23 – 28 October 1974 – Attempted lunar sample return (failed due to damage on lunar landing)
United States West Germany Helios-A – 10 December 1974 – Solar observations

1975
Soviet Union Venera 9 – 8 June 1975 – First Venus orbiter and lander; First images from surface of Venus
Soviet Union Venera 10 – 14 June 1975 – Venus orbiter and lander
United States Viking 1 – 20 August 1975 – Mars orbiter and lander; First lander returning data and First pictures from Martian surface
United States Viking 2 – 9 September 1975 – Mars orbiter and lander

1976
United States West Germany Helios-B – 15 January 1976 – Solar observations, Closest solar approach (0.29 AU)
Soviet Union Luna 24 – 9 August 1976 – Lunar robotic sample return

1977
United States Voyager 2 – 20 August 1977 – Jupiter/Saturn/first Uranus/first Neptune flyby
United States Voyager 1 – 5 September 1977 – Jupiter/Saturn flyby, Farthest human-made object – currently (2014) about 130 AU

1978
United States Pioneer Venus 1 – 20 May 1978 – Venus orbiter
United States Pioneer Venus 2 – 8 August 1978 – Venus atmospheric probes
United States European Union ISEE-3 – 12 August 1978 – Solar wind investigations; later redesignated International Cometary Explorer and performed Comet Giacobini-Zinner and Comet Halley flybys – First comet flyby
Soviet Union Venera 11 – 9 September 1978 – Venus flyby and lander
Soviet Union Venera 12 – 14 September 1978 – Venus flyby and lander

1980s

Giotto – Comet Halley flyby

1981
Soviet Union Venera 13 – 30 October 1981 – Venus flyby and lander
Soviet Union Venera 14 – 4 November 1981 – Venus flyby and lander

1983
Soviet Union Venera 15 – 2 June 1983 – Venus orbiter
Soviet Union Venera 16 – 7 June 1983 – Venus orbiter

1984
Soviet Union Vega 1 – 15 December 1984 – Venus flyby, lander and first balloon; continued on to Comet Halley flyby
Soviet Union Vega 2 – 21 December 1984 – Venus flyby, lander and balloon; continued on to Comet Halley flyby

1985
Galileo – Mission to JupiterJapan Sakigake – 7 January 1985 – Comet Halley flyby
European Union Giotto – 2 July 1985 – Comet Halley flyby
Japan Suisei (Planet-A) – 18 August 1985 – Comet Halley flyby

1986
Soviet Union Mir – 20 February 1986 – First modular space station (completion 1996)

1988
Soviet Union Phobos 1 – 7 July 1988 – Attempted Mars orbiter/Phobos landers (contact lost)
Soviet Union Phobos 2 – 12 July 1988 – Mars orbiter/attempted Phobos landers (contact lost)

1989
United States Magellan – 4 May 1989 – Venus orbiter
United States Galileo – 18 October 1989 – Venus flyby, first Asteroid flyby, first Asteroid moon discovery, first Jupiter orbiter/atmospheric probe

1990s

1990
Mars Pathfinder – Mars lander and first Mars roverJapan Hiten (Muses-A) – 24 January 1990 – Lunar flyby and orbiter
United States European Union Hubble Space Telescope – Orbital space telescope
United States European Union Ulysses – 6 October 1990 – Solar polar orbiter

1991
Japan United States United Kingdom Yohkoh (Solar-A) – 30 August 1991 – Solar observations

1992
United States Mars Observer – 25 September 1992 – Attempted Mars orbiter (contact lost)

1994
United States Clementine – 25 January 1994 – Lunar orbiter/attempted asteroid flyby
United States WIND – 1 November 1994 – Solar wind observations

1995
European Union United States SOHO – 2 December 1995 – Solar observatory

1996
United States NEAR Shoemaker – 17 February 1996 – Eros orbiter, first near-Earth asteroid flyby, first asteroid orbit and first asteroid landing
United States Mars Global Surveyor – 7 November 1996 – Mars orbiter
Russia Mars 96 – 16 November 1996 – Attempted Mars orbiter/landers (failed to escape Earth orbit)
United States Mars Pathfinder – 4 December 1996 – Mars lander and first planetary rover

1997
Cassini–Huygens – First Saturn orbiter and first Titan landerUnited States ACE – 25 August 1997 – Solar wind and "space weather" observations
United States European Union Italy Cassini–Huygens – 15 October 1997 – First Saturn orbiter and first outer planet lander
China AsiaSat 3/HGS-1 – 24 December 1997 – Lunar flyby

1998
United States Lunar Prospector – 7 January 1998 – Lunar orbiter
Japan Nozomi (probe) (also known as Planet-B) – 3 July 1998 – Attempted Mars orbiter (failed to enter Mars orbit)
United States Deep Space 1 (DS1) – 24 October 1998 – Asteroid and comet flyby
United States Russia European Union Japan Canada – 20 November 1998 – International Space Station (planned completion 2013)
United States Mars Climate Orbiter – 11 December 1998 – Attempted Mars orbiter (orbit insertion failed)

1999
United States Mars Polar Lander/Deep Space 2 (DS2) – 3 January 1999 – Attempted Mars lander/penetrators (contact lost)
United States Stardust – 7 February 1999 – First comet coma sample return – returned 15 January 2006

2000s

Mars Express/Beagle 2 – First planetary mission by the ESA
MESSENGER – First Mercury orbiter

2001
United States 2001 Mars Odyssey – 7 April 2001 – Mars orbiter
United States Genesis – 8 August 2001 – First solar wind sample return

2002
United States CONTOUR – 3 July 2002 – Attempted flyby of three comet nuclei (lost in space)

2003
Japan Hayabusa (Muses-C) – 9 May 2003 – Asteroid lander and First sample return from asteroid
United States Mars Exploration Rovers – 10 June/7 July 2003 – Two Mars rovers ("Spirit" and "Opportunity")
European Union United Kingdom Mars Express/Beagle 2 – 1 June 2003 – Mars orbiter/lander (lander failure)
European Union SMART-1 – 27 September 2003 – Lunar orbiter
China Shenzhou 5 – 15 October 2003 – China's first manned Earth orbiter

2004
European Union Rosetta/Philae – 2 March 2004 – First comet orbiter and lander (Landed on November 2014)
United States MESSENGER – 3 August 2004 – First Mercury orbiter (Achieved orbit 18 March 2011)

2005
United States Deep Impact – 12 January 2005 – First comet impact
United States Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter – 12 August 2005 – Mars orbiter
European Union Venus Express – 9 November 2005 – Venus polar orbiter

2006
United States New Horizons – 19 January 2006 – First Pluto/Charon and Kuiper Belt flyby (Expected arrival 14 July 2015)
Japan United States United Kingdom Hinode (Solar-B) – 22 September 2006 – Solar orbiter
United States STEREO – 26 October 2006 – Two spacecraft, solar orbiters

2007
United States Phoenix – 4 August 2007 – Mars polar lander
Japan SELENE (Kaguya) – 14 September 2007 – Lunar orbiters
United States Dawn – 27 September 2007 – Asteroid Ceres and Vesta orbiter (Entered orbit around Vesta on 16 July 2011 and around Ceres on 6 March 2015)
China Chang'e 1 – 24 October 2007 – Lunar orbiter

2008
India Chandrayaan-1 – 22 October 2008 – Lunar orbiter and impactor – Discovered water on the moon

2009
United States Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter/LCROSS – 18 June 2009 – Lunar polar orbiter and lunar impactor

2010s

Mars Science Laboratory – Mars lander and large rover
Mangalyaan – First Indian Mars orbiter

2010
United States Solar Dynamics Observatory – 11 February 2010 – Continuous solar monitoring
Japan Akatsuki (Planet-C) – 20 May 2010 – Venus orbiter (orbit insertion failed in 2010 / postponed to December 2015)
France PICARD – 15 June 2010 – Solar monitoring
China Chang'e 2 – 1 October 2010 – Lunar orbiter, Asteroid 4179 Toutatis flyby

2011
United States Juno – 5 August 2011 – Jupiter orbiter
United States GRAIL – 10 September 2011 – Two spacecraft, Lunar orbiters
China Tiangong (Project 921-2) - 29 September 2011 - First Chinese space station[1] (planned completion around 2020)
Russia China Fobos-Grunt and Yinghuo-1 – 8 November 2011 – Phobos orbiter, lander and sample return (Russia), Mars orbiter (China) – failed to escape Earth orbit
United States Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity Rover) – 26 November 2011 – large Mars 900 kg Rover (landed 6 August 2012)

2012
United States Van Allen Probes (RBSP) - 30 August 2012 - Earth Van Allen radiation belts study

2013
United States IRIS – 27 June 2013 – Solar observations
United States LADEE – 6 September 2013 – Lunar orbiter
Japan Hisaki - 14 September 2013 - Planetary atmosphere observatory
India Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan) – 5 November 2013 – Mars orbiter
United States MAVEN – 18 November 2013 – Mars orbiter
China Chang'e 3 – 1 December 2013 - First Chinese lunar lander and rover (most recent lander since Russian Luna 24 in 1976)

2014
China Chang'e 5-T1 – 23 October 2014 - Lunar flyby/orbiter and Earth reentry probe; technology demonstration to prepare for Chang'e 5 mission
Japan Hayabusa 2 – 3 December 2014 – Asteroid lander and sample return
Japan PROCYON – 3 December 2014 – Asteroid flyby - flyby cancelled due to engine failure
United States Exploration Flight Test 1 – 5 December 2014 – Unmanned Earth orbital test of Orion interplanetary vehicle.

2015
United States DSCOVR – 11 February 2015 – Solar observation
United States Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission – 13 March 2015 – Magnetospheric research