12.400 The Solar System

Spring 2006

The javelin event at the Interplanetary Olympics.
The javelin event at the Interplanetary Olympics. Under what conditions could a javelin circle the planet and hit you in the back? (Image by MIT OCW.)

Course Highlights

This course features fact sheets in the study materials section and sample problem sets in the assignments section.

Course Description

This is an introduction to the study of the solar system with emphasis on the latest spacecraft results. The subject covers basic principles rather than detailed mathematical and physical models. Topics include: an overview of the solar system, planetary orbits, rings, planetary formation, meteorites, asteroids, comets, planetary surfaces and cratering, planetary interiors, planetary atmospheres, and life in the solar system.
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Prof. Richard Binzel

Course Meeting Times

Two sessions / week
1.5 hours / session