Starting in the early days of the Space Age – well before the advent of manned spaceflight – the United States, trailed soon by other nations, undertook an enthusiastic effort to study the planets of the solar system. The exceptional fruits of this research revolutionized the public’s view of their celestial neighbors, capturing the imaginations of people from all backgrounds like nothing else save the Apollo lunar missions. From the first space explorations to the latest planetary rovers, they have continually delivered impressive discoveries and reshaped our understanding of the cosmos. Providing fascinating investigations into this important chapter in space history, Exploring the Solar System: The History and Science of Planetary Exploration (PDF) offers specially commissioned essays from leading historians which opens new arenas in our understanding of the development of planetary science.
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