A Solar System Photo Gallery
The Inner Planets and their satellites


Mercury is shown here in a photomosaic of Mariner 10 images, taken 29 March 1974. Mercury is 4,800 km in diameter, has no atmosphere, and has a surface dominated by craters. On the left is a large multi-ringed impact basin, Caloris Basin, one of the largest impact features in the solar system. (Credit: NASA, USGS, Mark Robinson)
Venus is shown here in a black-and-white image taken in visible violet light by Galileo on 14 February 1990 from 2,700,000 km away. The surface of Venus is permanently obscured by clouds and haze in its thick atmosphere of mostly carbon dioxide. Venus is 12,100 km in diameter. Radar mapping of the surface shows a variety of past volcanic and tectonic activity. (Credit: NASA, JPL)
The Earth is shown here in a photograph taken by Apollo 16 astronauts on 16 April 1972 en route to the Moon. The Earth is unique in having a (mostly) nitrogen and oxygen atmosphere, liquid water oceans, and life. This image shows clouds over the Pacific Ocean and North America, with part of South America visible at the lower right. A low pressure system is visible over the eastern United States. The white area at the upper right includes both clouds and cloud-free areas covered with snow and ice. (Credit: NASA)
The Moon is seen here in a photograph by Apollo 17 astronauts on 17 December 1972. The Moon is 3,476 km in diameter and has no atmosphere. Its surface is dominated by craters with darker lava plains, these plains mostly on the side permanently facing the Earth. (Credit: NASA)
Mars is shown here in a mosaic of images from the Viking orbiters. Mars, 6,800 km in diameter, has a thin atmosphere mostly of carbon dioxide and a surface showing a wide variety of past geologic activity. The Valles Marineris canyon complex stretches 3,000 km across the center of this view. Three shield volcanoes are on the left, surrounded by thin clouds. Valles Marineris probably formed from tectonic activity and wind erosion, but the sinuous channels towards the top of the picture were likely formed by running water. (Credit: Viking Project, USGS, NASA)
Phobos, satellite of Mars, is shown as seen by the Mars Express orbiter from 200 km away on 22 August 2004. The large crater at the top is Stickney, 10 km across. Phobos is only 28 km by 20 km; the grooves radiating from Stickney suggest that Phobos was nearly shattered by the impact. The grooves are typically a few hundred meters wide and a few tens of meters deep. (Credit: ESA, DLR, FU Berlin, G. Neukum)
Deimos, satellite of Mars, is shown in a mosaic of black-and-white images taken 20 October 1977 by Viking 2 orbiter at 500 km distance. Deimos is about 16 km by 12 km. Its surface is visibly smoother than that of Phobos; this dust layer may be material blasted from Deimos by impacts and subsequently recollected from orbit around Mars. (Credit: Viking Project, NASA)


Copyright © 2002, 2005 by Wm. Robert Johnston. All rights reserved.
Last modified 20 August 2005.
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