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The Planets -- Investigating Our Planetary Family Tree: A Family Affair


Our Solar System

Our solar system is a family of planets, dwarf planets, comets, and asteroids orbiting our Sun, which share many common features, but each have unique personality traits.

Faster than a speeding bullet!
The top wind speeds on the gas giant planets
are hundreds of meters per second-faster
than many speeding bullets.
Color image showing the planets in our solar system.

Earth's nearest neighbors -- its sibling inner planets -- preserved the deep history that was long ago erased by Earth's active geology. The giant planets and comets -- cousins markedly different in size and composition -- preserve the most ancient secret: the story of our solar system's formation.

Studying these relatives helps scientists better understand our own planet and our shared history.

Join NASA in investigations of our planetary family tree. Conduct the Explore the Celestial Neighborhood ... in Your Neighborhood! activity and others that examine what a planet is and how we investigate planets. There are so many opportunities for you to find out more about our solar system's family tree!

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Last Updated: 16 Apr 2014