The Solar System

Drawing of someone throwing a javelin around a planet.

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 OpenCourseWare.)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Spring 2006



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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.

Richard Binzel. 12.400 The Solar System, Spring 2006. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), (Accessed). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

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