View Full Version : Current orbiters around planets

2014-Jan-27, 12:24 AM
I am currently reading Chris Hadfield's book "An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth" (a good read) and I just read this sentence in it:

"Currently, vehicles are driving around on other planets to find out more about them, orbiters are circling almost every planet in our solar system and robotic probes are expanding our understanding of our own atmosphere and the magnetic field that protects Earth from radiation."

I am wondering about his statement that we have orbiters circling "almost every planet".
I am aware of probes around Mercury, Mars and Saturn and one on its way to Pluto (if you want to count it as a planet).

What am I missing?

The book came out in 2013, so I assume it's fairly current.

Van Rijn
2014-Jan-27, 12:42 AM
It's oversimplified. There have been flybys of all planets, including Earth (for gravity assist in that case). As you mentioned, there will be a flyby of Pluto, now considered a dwarf planet. There are currently spacecraft in orbit around Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and Saturn, and there was an orbiter around Jupiter and will be another in 2016 (JUNO). Dawn will orbit a dwarf planet (Ceres) and has orbited an asteroid. There have also been various other interactions with other worlds and comets.

2014-Jan-27, 12:57 AM
What am I missing?
Planetary Society: What's up in planetary missions in 2014 (http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2013/20131231-whats-up-in-planetary-2014.html)

2014-Jan-27, 01:02 AM
Planetary Society: What's up in planetary missions in 2014 (http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2013/20131231-whats-up-in-planetary-2014.html)

You know, looking at the chart, after ten years of travel, Rosetta doesn't seem to have moved al that much! Oh well, in the context of this thread, Churyumov-Gerasimenko isn't a planet.

2014-Jan-27, 06:48 AM
Thanks for the info and the link.

I wasn't aware of Venus Express.
Still not quite "almost every planet" but no big deal. The book is otherwise informative and well written.