5
$\begingroup$

Earth has many observation satellites, with some having a resolution better than 1 meter. A consequence is that we can access high resolution images of almost every square meter of land (classified area may exist).

Do such satellites exists for other planets or moons in the solar system? I'm thinking of all terrestrial planets and the biggest moons in solar system (Titan, Io, Triton, ...)

EDIT: given the answer, I may explicit that this question is primarily focused on visible light or near visible light, but may include any wavelength such that the 1-meter resolution makes sense.

$\endgroup$
12
$\begingroup$

The category of "observation satellites" is broad, because there are many types of observation (different wavelengths that reveal different characteristics of the observed planet). Because you're referring to 'high-resolution images' I'm going to assume you want visible-light photography.

Yes, this is available for many bodies, although most planets have not been mapped to the same resolution as Earth.

Moon: I think this is the first solar system body we mapped with the Lunar Orbiter program. Recent data we have from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, resolution about 1 m.

Mercury: MESSENGER, resolution up to 20 m

Venus: No surface photography due to cloud cover.

Mars: Mars Global Surveyor, resolution up to 1.5 m, superseded by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (resolution 0.3 m, as good as the best non-classified Earth images).

Jupiter: Galileo

Saturn: Cassini, resolution varies due to changing orbit

Galileo and Cassini also mapped many moons (too many to list here).

Incomplete maps exist for Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and their moons.

All planetary imaging is archived at the Planetary Data System. Image data processed for mapping purposes is available at the PDS IMG Annex.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Venus was fairly thoroughly mapped with radar. $\endgroup$ – Steve Linton Jul 31 '19 at 10:22
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Pluto has some images at ~70m resolution. Doesn't count here, but still impressive under the circumstances. $\endgroup$ – Mad Physicist Jul 31 '19 at 20:24

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.