Solar system exploration is that grand human endeavor which reaches out through interplanetary space to discover the nature and origins of the system of planets in which we live and to learn whether life exists beyond Earth. It is an international enterprise involving scientists, engineers, managers, politicians, and others, sometimes working together and sometimes in competition, to open new frontiers of knowledge. It has a proud past, a productive present, and an auspicious future. This survey was requested by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to determine the contemporary nature of solar system exploration and why it remains a compelling activity today. A broad survey of the state of knowledge was requested. In addition NASA asked for the identifcation of the top-level scientific questions to guide its ongoing program and a prioritized list of the most promising avenues for flight investigations and supporting ground-based activities.
Table of Contents
|Part I: Current Knowledge of the Solar System and Its Implications for Future Solar System Exploration||11-12|
|1 Primitive Bodies: Building Blocks of the Solar System||13-37|
|2 Inner Solar System: Key to Habitable Worlds||38-65|
|3 Mars: The Evolution of an Earth-like Planet||66-91|
|4 Giant Planets: Keys to Solar System Formation||92-117|
|5 Large Satellites: Active Worlds and Extreme Environments||118-150|
|Part II: An Integrated Strategy for Solar System Exploration||151-152|
|6 Solar System Exploration Today: A Multifaceted Endeavor||153-174|
|7 Priority Questions for Solar System Exploration, 2003-2013: The Basis for an Integrated Exploration Strategy||175-188|
|8 Recommended Flight Investigations and Supporting Ground-Based Activities: 2003-2013||189-210|
|Epilogue: A Glimpse at the Future of Solar System Exploration||211-212|
|Appendix A: Statement of Task||213-216|
|Appendix B: List of Planetary Community White Papers||217-220|
|Appendix C: Results of Planetary Community Survey||221-222|
|Appendix D: Summary of the Planetary Society’s Public Opinion Survey||223-224|
|Appendix E: Glossary, Abbreviations, and Acronyms||225-232|
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