From the rings of Saturn to the canals of Mars and the Great Red Dot of Jupiter, the planets of our Solar System have long fascinated humanity. Featuring many striking photos, this Very Short Introduction offers a fascinating portrait of the unique world of each planet as well as an illuminating discussion of moons, asteroids, and Trans-Neptunian objects. Leading planetary scientist David A. Rothery, who has chaired the European Space Agency's Mercury surface and composition working group since 2007, gives a stimulating overview of the origin, nature, and evolution of our Solar System, including the controversial issues of what qualifies as a planet, and what conditions are required for a planetary body to support life. He explains how the surfaces of planets and moons have been sculpted by geology, weather, and impacts by meteors and asteroids. Rothery shows how our knowledge has advanced over the centuries, and how it has expanded at a dramatic rate in recent years, going far beyond our Solar System to explore planets orbiting distant stars.
About the Author
Dr David Rothery became interested in astronomy as a schoolboy, and took a degree in geology at Cambridge University. He went on to a career in geological remote sensing at the Open University, where is now a senior lecturer chairing planetary science courses and doing research in volanology and planetary science. He has been involved in various lunar and martian missions, and is now lead scientist for an X-ray spectrometer to be flown to Mercury on the BepiColombo spacecraft, and has chaired the European Space Agency's Mercury surface and composition working group since 2007.