Planetary Space Environments

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Major Results from the MAVEN Mission to Mars

Bruce Jakosky, University of Colorado, Boulder
This special section focuses on the major results from the primary mission of the MAVEN mission to Mars. MAVEN was designed to explore the Mars upper atmosphere, ionosphere, magnetosphere, and interactions with the Sun and solar wind, and to understand the role that escape to space plays today and may have played in the history of Martian volatiles and climate.

Interested readers are also encouraged to access a similar special collection in Geophysical Research Letters by clicking here.

MESSENGER Views Mercury from Orbit

1 September 2013
The papers included in this special collection report on orbital observations of Mercury by the MESSENGER spacecraft. The papers describe many aspects of Mercury’s geology, geochemistry, surface and interior, exosphere, magnetosphere, and space environment. This is a joint special collection between JGR: Planets and JGR: Space Physics.

Pioneer Venus

30 December 1980
The arrival of the Pioneer Venus spacecraft in December of 1978 marked the initiation of a new phase of planetary exploration. For the first time a mission had been designed to investigate the global scale properties of another planet's atmosphere.


1 March 1982
Analysis of Titan's EUV emission spectra obtained at the Voyager 1 encounter demonstrates that electron impact on N2 above 3600 km accounts for the bulk of the observed emission short of Lyman α. In conjunction with the UVS solar occultation data it is concluded that N2 is the major component of Titan's upper atmosphere, with upper limit mixing ratios at 3900 km on NeI, ArI, CO, H2, and HI of 0.01, 0.06, 0.05, 0.06, and 0.1, respectively.

Pioneer Saturn

1 November 1980
Pioneer 11, later named Pioneer Saturn, reached its point of closest approach to Saturn on September 1, 1979. Pioneer Saturn carried 11 operating scientific instruments. The 2.293-GHz telemetry carrier was also used for a radio occultation experiment and a celestial mechanics experiment.

Venus and Mars

1 July 1991
During the week of June 4“8, 1990, a Chapman Conference on Venus and Mars: Atmospheres, Ionospheres and Solar Wind Interactions was held at Balatonfüred, Hungary.

Voyager 2 at Uranus

30 December 1987
The Voyager Uranus/Interstellar Mission is the continuation of the NASA program of exploration of the outer solar system. The first phase of the Voyager program included encounters with Jupiter and Saturn as summarized in the Journal of Geophysical Research (volume 86, pages 8123-8841, 1981, and volume 88, pages 8639-9018, 1983)

Voyager Missions to Jupiter

30 September 1981
The papers in this special issue represent the first comprehensive report of the detailed analysis of data from the initial phase of the mission, extending from launch through the Jupiter encounters. Voyager 1 was launched on September 5, 1977, and arrived at Jupiter on March 5, 1979, while Voyager 2 was launched on August 20, 1977, and arrived at Jupiter on July 9, 1979.

First Results From Cassini: Venus and Earth Swing-Bys

1 December 2001
The Cassini/Huygens spacecraft flew by Venus on June 24, 1999, and the Earth on August 18, 1999. These two events provided the Cassini Project with its first opportunities to design coordinated scientific observations at planetary encounters.

Plasma Interaction With Io's Atmosphere

1 November 2001
The Jovian moon Io resides in one of the harshest space environments yet visited by spacecraft. Indeed, the energetic particles that make Jupiter's inner magnetosphere interesting to the space physicist give space engineers nightmares. After the initial orbit-insertion passage in December 1995, the Galileo spacecraft was deliberately kept well outside the orbit of Io and the plasma torus.