As far as we have been taught in school we know about eight planets (nine when we used to include Pluto) in our solar system. Apart from these planets, we have the moon, comets, and asteroids, and also moons of each of the planets. We have landed almost on all of these surfaces and also sent back data with images of these extraterrestrial bodies.
Let’s start with the moon first. The first landing on other worlds by humans was none other than the moon. NASA’s Apollo Missions have brief space history and one of them was Apollo 11, which carried the first two humans who stepped on the moon and they were Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. Now coming to the robotic surveyors which went before the humans on the moon. The first one was the Soviet union’s Luna two and the one which made a soft landing on it was Luna 9. The Soviet Union deployed Lunokhod 1, the first remote-controlled one on the moon’s surface. India also has its Chandrayaan-I and Chandrayaan -II on the moon’s surface.
Now moving on…. to Mars. NASA has made all soft landings on the Red Planet to date. It has also sent many rovers to the planet to examine its surface of it. The sojourner was the first rover to roll on Mars as a part of the Mars Pathfinder Mission.
Venera 7 was among the first in the series to surface Venus by The Soviet Union, which lasted for 23 minutes. Next was Venera 9 last for almost 53 minutes on the surface and sent data back to Earth. There were many other Venera that lasted for 12 minutes and sent the first color pictures of Venus.
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Titan is one of Saturn’s moons. The Huygens Probe which was sent by the European Space Agency (ESA) had a soft landing on the surface and was probably the only one to land. In its 90 minutes duration after the landing, it transmitted data and pictures of the moon to Earth. Scientists believed that this orangey moon of Saturn had elements in its atmosphere and on its surface that could sustain life. After the landing, it discovered lakes of ethane and methane which shows that it has the same liquid cycle as our planet Earth.
ASTEROIDS AND COMETS
Earth also has landed on small airless bodies like comets and asteroids. NASA made its first landing on asteroid Eros through the NEAR shoemaker probe transmitting data to earth for more than two weeks. Japan made its first landing on the extraterrestrial surface, asteroid Itokawa, through Hayabusa Spacecraft. It not only made it to the surface but also took off again to return the samples to Earth, which became successful.
The European Space Agency was the first one to launch on comet 67P/ Churyumov–Gerasimenko through a Philae lander. It had a soft landing and also transmitted brief data but could not stay for a long duration because of its power failure which was due to the awkward landing.
So, these were the successful landing from Earth to various extraterrestrial bodies and gathered data about them. We got to know many things about these terrestrial bodies through these missions by many nations.