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Astronomy - Extraterrestrial Physics, Space Sciences | The Solar System

The Solar System

Encrenaz, Therese, Bibring, Jean-Pierre, Blanc, M.

Translated by Dunlop, S.

Original French edition published by InterEditions et Editions du CNRS, Paris 1987

2nd ed. 1995, XVIII, 349 p.


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Since the first edition of this book appeared in 1990, planetology has seen a number of fascinating discoveries that have increased our knowledge of the Solar System. These have come from both ground- and space-based observa­ tional programmes. Although some space probe missions have ended in fail­ ure, even they have added to our store of information about the planetary environment. The Galileo probe, despite being crippled by its incompletely deployed main antenna, has already achieved some spectacular results. For the first time we have obtained pictures of asteriods, with the images that Galileo returned of Gaspra, Ida, and the latter's satellite, Dactyl. The main objective, the drop­ ping of an instrumented capsule into Jupiter's atomosphere, and prolonged in-situ investigation of the planet, will take place at the end of 1995. Saturn's turn will come early in the next century with the Cassini mission (to be launched in 1997), which will study the planet for an extended period and attempt to land the Huygens probe on the surface of Titan. NASA's Magellan mission proved to be a great success, with its highly detailed radar mapping of the surface, and atmospheric studies. The exploration of Mars was less fortunate with the failure of both spaceprobes of the Soviet Phobos mission, as well as NASA's Mars Observer probe. Despite this set­ back, plans are in hand for future, collaborative exploration of the planet, using both surface stations (possibly active rovers), surface penetrators and balloon probes, as well as orbiters.

Content Level » Research

Keywords » Astronomie - Astrophysik - Planetologie - Plasmaphysik - astronomy - astrophysics - planetology - plasma physics

Related subjects » Extraterrestrial Physics, Space Sciences - Geology - Geophysics & Geodesy

Table of contents 

1. General Features of the Solar System.- 2. Methods of Studying the Solar System.- 3. The Formation of the Solar System.- 4. The Interaction of Solar-System Bodies with the Interplanetary Medium (by Michel Blanc).- 5. The Inner Planets and Their Satellites.- 6. The Asteroids (or “Minor Planets”).- 7. The Giant Planets.- 8. Bodies Without Atmospheres in the Outer Solar System.- 9. Satellites with Atmospheres.- 10. The Comets.- 11. Interplanetary Dust, Micrometeorites and Meteorites.- 12. Conclusions.- Appendix 1. Mobility and Conductivity of Ionospheric Plasma.- A1.1 Transport Equations for Ionospheric Ions and Electrons.- A1.2 Mobility and Conductivity Perpendicular to the Magnetic Field.- A1.3 Mobility and Conductivity Parallel to the Magnetic Field.- A1.4 The Ionospheric Ohm’s Law.- A1.5 Ambipolar Diffusion of the Plasma Across the Neutral Atmosphere.- Appendix 2. Local Equations for the Magnetic Equilibrium of a Magnetopause.- A2.1 The MHD Field and Mass-conservation Equations.- A2.2 The Equations Describing the Jump in Momentum at a Discontinuity Surface.- A2.3 Application to the Magnetopause: Confinement of Earth’s Magnetic Field by the Dynamic Pressure of the Solar Wind.

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