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With Explore the Planets, investigate the planets, their moons, and understand the processes that shape them. By G. Jeffrey Taylor, Ph.D. See our DVD collection.

Missions to Earth

Mission Country Launch Date End Date Type Objectives

The Ocean Topography Experiment (TOPEX)/Poseidon USA and France 1992 ----- Orbiter Global sea level measurements with an unprecedented
accuracy
Geotail USA July 24, 1992 ----- Orbiter Study of the dynamics of the Earth's magnetotail
Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) USA September 15, 1991 ----- Orbiter Measurements of energy inputs chemistry and dynamics
of the upper atmosphere and the coupling between the
and lower atmosphere
POLAR USA February 24, 1996 ----- Orbiter Study of the energetics of high latitude polar regions
and auroral imaging
WIND USA November 1, 1994 ----- Orbiter Study of energetic particle and magnetic field input
Fast Auroral SnapshoT (FAST) USA 1996 ----- Orbiter Study of plasma physics of the Earth's auroral regions
IMP-8 USA October 26, 1973 ----- Orbiter Measure the magnetic fields, plasma, and energetic
charged particles of the Earth's magnetosphere

An Overview of Space Exploration

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Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

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Albedo

This picture was taken from high above our planet. Looking at the Earth from very far away like this we can see that some parts of our planet look light in color, and some parts look dark. The color of...more

Desert Birds

Did you know that many species of birds live in the desert? You have probably heard of the roadrunner or seen the cartoon. The roadrunner is a real bird that lives in the desert! It prefers to run rather...more

The Desert Biome

Deserts are very hot and dry places. Deserts get very little rain each year. So how do plants and animals live here? This section on the desert ecosystem will explain how! Do you know what a desert looks...more

Desert Insects and Arachnids

There are all kinds of insects in the desert! Some of them cause a lot of problems. The locusts fly from place to place, eating all the plants they see. But not all desert bugs are bad. There isn't a...more

Desert Mammals

There are many species of mammals in the desert! Many of them dig holes in the ground to live in. These holes are called burrows. Rats and hamsters live in burrows. Bigger mammals, like the wild horse,...more

Biomes and Ecosystems

Biomes are large areas of the world where there are similar plants, animals, and other living things. The living things are adapted to the climate. Explore the links below to learn more about different...more

Temperate Forests

Temperate forests are found all over the world, but they are not all the same. Some forests have trees that lose their leaves in the winter. These trees are called deciduous. Other forests have trees that...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF