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Miscellaneous thoughts and ramblings
Thursday, December 23, 2004
 
Titan or Bust
Tomorrow NASA's Cassini spacecraft will drop the European Space Agency's Huygens probe on a course that will have it falling into Titan's atmosphere on January 14. This will be the first time anything man-made has landed on Titan, and will make Titan only the fourth fifth body in the solar system to have Earth machinery land on it (not just orbit it). Can you name the others? (No, I'm not counting Earth itself.) Extra points for the years and the names of the missions first landing on each of the bodies.
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(I deleted the above comment just because it was published by me accidentally signed in by b&c.)

Wow! A veritable firestorm of controversy I've started. So, not a lot of astronomy fans, huh?

You don't have to be an astronomy fan to marvel at the very bright leading edge of human achievement in any field. In the field of exploration, our ships have traveled much farther than we have.

So work with me, people. Give me the three bodies in the solar system that our machines have landed on. Anyone? Beuler?
 
Earth's moon (Apollo. 1969 was the first human landing... we probably sent other stuff up first), Venus (1984? Gemini?), Mars (2000? Cassini?), Titan.
 
Oh. Cassini was this one. Nevermind about Cassini landing on Mars. I only remember the thign they called the rover. Nice gadgetry.
 
Moon, Mars, some asteroid.
 
Drum roll please:

The Soviet mission Luna 2 first landed on the moon in 1959 (more like impacted the surface). There were many subsequent Soviet and American landings culminating in the manned landings of the Apollo missions.

The Soviets were also the first to put a lander on Venus in 1975, the Venera 9.

The American Viking 1 was the first to land on Mars in 1976.

The farthest that humans have been is the moon. The farthest man made object is Voyager 1 which has left the solar system.

As far as I know, we've never landed a mission on an asteroid, but I'd be happy to be corrected.
 
In other words, I was correct on the bodies; but not the years or missions. I'll take that. GO MANKIND!
 
Good science question, Bean. Good answer, Nomad. It's good to post science questions now and again to refresh one's memory and keep up with the ever-expanding body of scientific knowledge.

I didn't know about the Venus landing.

I looked up the asteroid landing. It was relatively recent - 2001. You can read about it here.
 
Thanks, Oven. It looks like the NEAR mission touched down on the asteroid Eros in 2001. So Titan will be the fifth body that we've landed on.
 
Carl Sagan might be the first body to land on a heavenly body.
 
huh? Is Nomad drunk?
 
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