• LOCATION 11 | Virtual Solar System Drive: From Narrabri to Siding Spring with Fred Watson

    Exploring the Solar System

    More than 250 robotic spacecraft—and 24 humans—have ventured into space since we first began exploring beyond Earth’s atmosphere in 1958. Here are three of our favourite spacecraft.

    The first is Voyager 1 which has been flying further and longer than any other spacecraft providing observations of truly uncharted territory and helping scientists understand the very nature of energy and radiation in space. Voyager 1 is famous for carrying a Golden Record with a message from humanity in 55 languages, pictures of people and places on Earth and music ranging from Beethoven to Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode." Launched in 1977 to fly by Jupiter and Saturn, Voyager 1 zoomed out of our solar system in August 2012 and to this day continues to collect data.

    Our next favourite is the Parker Solar Probe. We live in the Sun's atmosphere and this spacecraft will help scientists truly understand the Sun's impact on Earth. Space weather can change the orbits of satellites, shorten their lifespan, or interfere with electronics. By diving into the Sun’s atmosphere sampling its ether Scientists hope to answers questions like why is the corona much hotter than the Sun's surface and what are the sources of high-energy solar particles?

    Finally, the Perseverance rover's is NASA's newest spacecraft searching for signs of past microscopic life on Mars. It was launched on 30 July 2020, to explore the diverse geology of its landing site, Jezero Crater.

    This is the most capable rover in history because it is standing on the shoulders of our pioneers Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity.

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Virtual Solar System Drive: From Narrabri to Siding Spring with Fred Watson