Our solar system is a vast place, with lots of mostly empty space between planets. But out there are comets, asteroids and more rocky, frozen objects (including dwarf planets) yet to be discovered in the Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud.
CREDIT: NASA

Meet the Spacecraft Exploring the Solar System

by Mike Wall, SPACE Senior Writer
Date: 03 January 2013 Time: 06:00 AM ET

NASA’s Spirit rover landed on Mars nine years ago today (Jan. 3), kicking off a surface mission that’s still operational thanks to the amazing endurance of Spirit’s twin Opportunity.

Mars is currently host to five active space missions, commanding more attention than any planet apart from Earth. But unmanned probes are also exploring many other solar system bodies, from the sun out to Pluto and beyond.

Here’s a brief rundown of some of the intrepid spacecraft that are currently sending data home from beyond Earth orbit. (For the sake of brevity, this list does not include the extensitve fleet of satellites currently orbiting Earth, though some notable ones are NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory and iconic Hubble Space Telescope.)

Read more: Meet the Spacecraft Exploring the Solar System | Space.

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