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An introduction to exoplanets
An introduction to exoplanets

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6.1  Terrestrial planets

Below is a selection of images of the terrestrial planets in our own Solar System.

An image of Mercury.
Figure 14  This image of Mercury was taken by the Messenger spacecraft in 2008 in a fly-by before it entered orbit around the planet. The long rays emanating from craters were a newly imaged feature.
An image of Venus.
Figure 15  This image of Venus was taken by the Mariner 10 spacecraft in 1974. Venus is very bright because it has a thick layer of highly reflective sulfuric acid clouds obscuring the surface.
An image of Earth.
Figure 16  ‘Earthrise’ from lunar orbits. The first image is a composite made using NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter in 2015. The second image was taken by the Apollo 8 astronauts on Christmas Eve in 1968.
An image of the Earth taken from the Voyager spacecraft as it was leaving the Solar System.
Figure 17  The ‘pale blue dot’ image of the Earth was taken from the Voyager spacecraft in 1990 as it was leaving the Solar System. Earth is circled in this image to help you see it.
An image of Mars taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.
Figure 18  Image of Mars taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, clearly showing the southern polar ice cap of water ice and frozen carbon dioxide