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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.

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Figure _unit3.6.1 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.
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Figure _unit3.6.2 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.
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Figure _unit3.6.3 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.
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Figure _unit3.6.4 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.
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Figure _unit3.6.5 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