Talk:Timeline of Solar System exploration

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First lunar rover[edit]

Suggest adding comment in bold for Apollo 15 - First Lunar Rover. This was a significant first in lunar exploration as it allowed much greater range of manned exploration. Tony (talk) 20:49, 8 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Use Solar System[edit]

This page should probably be move to something like Timeline of solar system exploration as it is not limited to actual planets. It already includes comets, the sun, etc. Rmhermen 00:32, Mar 25, 2004 (UTC)

Cancelled missions[edit]

Do missions that have been cancelled really belong in this topic (either in the "past" or "planned" section)? JTN 19:14, 2004 Aug 10 (UTC)

  • No. Hektor 14:06, 31 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I am removing the cancelled missions (but not failures) since they clutter the timeline with speculative proposals that achieved nothing. Eluchil404 14:51, 28 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Thanks Eluchil404. Personally, I don't mind if "canceled" notices are left up for a little while after a mission is canceled--readers are likely to have not heard the news, so it provides useful information. But I definitely agree that they shouldn't be left around forever, unless somebody wants to start a Timeline of proposed Solar System exploration. vasi 09:25, 13 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Are Chinese missions included?

Yes Rmhermen 15:09, 4 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I reverted the additional of nationalities and national firsts added by a recent anon editor. This is already covered in the similar list List of planetary probes which is organized by target instead of by time sequence. I don't think the origin needs to be duplicated and I especially disagree with the national firsts. Opinions? Rmhermen 15:09, 4 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

the 1940s[edit]

I put the date of the first postwar V2 launch to get past 100 miles in the timeline. You've got to start somewhere, and the first verified unmaned spaceflight is as good as any. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 16:13, 16 December 2006 (UTC).Reply[reply]

Except that wasn't the first. Rmhermen 04:26, 17 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And even if it was the first, it certainly wasn't "Solar System exploration", I think I'll be removing them if that's alright with everyone. vasi 09:33, 13 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I concur. Have removed (again, I guess?) --Mtu (talk) 23:45, 30 January 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

More iffy missions[edit]

I'd appreciate thoughts on whether the following items should be left in or not:

  • The early Earth orbiters (Sputnik 1 through Vanguard 1): These were definitely "exploratory", perhaps not so much "solar system". I don't think we want to include all Earth orbiters on this timeline, so we could be consistent and exclude them all. Or maybe include only the first (Sputnik) because it provided such an impetus for further progress?
  • Vostok 1 (Gagarin): Again, it's not really consistent but I don't terribly mind leaving it in because of the historical importance.
  • Skylab: I don't see any way we can include Skylab but not Salyut or Mir. I favor leaving all space stations off the list (well, until we start seeing some outside Earth orbit).
  • Space telescopes (Hubble and Kepler): Hubble certainly has contributed to our knowledge about the Solar System, but I'm not sure if I'd call it "exploration". Spitzer is outside of Earth orbit and has also been used for viewing Solar System objects, so if we include Hubble we also should include it. Kepler and the Terrestrial Planet Finder don't really have much to do with the solar system aside from being in it, so I'd rather leave those out. Not sure what to do about JWST...

vasi 09:56, 13 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'd say keep everything with a scientific payload that made a notable first in terms of area directly accessed (100km sub orbital, Earth orbit, etc). Human spaceflight should probably follow a similar pattern (i.e. Vostok 1, Apollo 8, Apollo 11) or be cut altogether. Space telescopes should probably be cut as outside the scope of the article unless we want to include notable telescopic discoveries generally since their location is of secondary importance when it comes to exploration. In any event JWST should be treated the same as Hubble. Eluchil404 12:11, 15 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Mars 2 wasn't the first Mars orbiter. Mariner 9 got there before Mars 2. Shrewpelt 17:39, 1 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Vikings[edit]

This totally ignores the Vikings progress. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Shark113 (talkcontribs) 00:51, 8 May 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Viking 1 and 2 are listed but they were not the first Mars landers. Rmhermen (talk) 13:30, 10 June 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Venera 1964B[edit]

i can't find any reference to Venera 1964B on the Venera page, would someone like to add it to that page or should there be no link at all?--Lord Aro (talk) 12:41, 14 May 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Failed missions?[edit]

Question: Should missions that failed at launch (launch failures) be included? I'm inclined towards the 'no'...--Lord Aro (talk) 13:49, 7 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

They should. If the effort and the try was made, they deserve to be in the list since in the moment they launch, they are missions. (talk) 16:37, 9 March 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Seems like Philadelphia 2009 has gone and said 'no', and just got rid of all of them --- Lord Aro (talk page) 09:32, 2 June 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Voyager 1[edit]

The description for Voyager 1 states that it was the first to leave the Solar System, but on the Voyager webpage from JPL it says that it has not technically left the Solar System, merely passed all the planets in the System ( Should this be corrected? ThatKidFromWhere (talk) 15:02, 13 March 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I vote yes, change it to something like 'First to leave the planets' or something like that... --Lord Aro (talk) 11:13, 14 March 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Agreed as well. Xionbox 12:15, 14 March 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]


All spacecraft have a national flag, showing which nation launched them, but half appear named after the nation eg "Chinese lunar rover" and half just contain mission type "lunar rover" - I'll update to make consistant Philadelphia 2009 (talk) 11:51, 30 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Is there a flag or flagicon for the European Space Agency (ESA)? Lord Witwenmacher (talk) 12:57, 26 January 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Space stations?[edit]

Should space stations be included? I'm heading towards the 'no' as they are Earth orbiters, not 'exploring the solar system' as this page is for. (I think the first space station should stay though) - Lord Aro (talk page) 09:32, 2 June 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Space Shuttle?[edit]

should the notable space shuttle missions be included? I'm thinking first and last should - Lord Aro (talk page) 10:36, 14 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Mars One[edit]

Someone needs to include something in the Planned or Scheduled section of the article about Mars One.

From the website:

Human settlement of Mars in 2023[edit]

Mars One will establish the first human settlement on Mars in 2023. A habitable settlement will be waiting for the settlers when they land. The settlement will support them while they live and work on Mars the rest of their lives. Every two years after 2023 an additional crew will arrive, such that there is a real living, growing community on Mars. Mars One has created a technical plan for this mission that is as simple as possible. For every component of the mission we have identified at least one potential supplier. Mars One invites you to join us in this next giant leap for mankind!

--Kluutak (talk) 21:00, 3 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

First question in their FAQ: Is this for real? Not real encouraging. It sounds like they are trying to raise money to study how much money they will need before starting designing. This looks pretty far away. Rmhermen (talk) 23:42, 3 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Private Mars missions[edit]

Mars One is looking more promising now, and their website is also much better. It certainly seems like they have a good chance of making it work, it's really a matter of funding. They have a 2018 orbiter, 2020 rover, and 2025 human landings planned. (

SpaceX also has Mars colony plans that are much moe likely than Mars One. Elon Musk says he could land the first people on Mars in 2026, and if that doesn't work, an early 2030s time-frame is very likely. This article should at least mention one of these plans. Smt98 (talk) 02:35, 13 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Timeline visualization[edit]

Added a timeline chart in the gallery section (don't know if it's the right one). Maybe the picture needs to be tweaked, every suggestion is appreciated. Don't know if this is the correct page (there is also "Discovery and exploration of the Solar System" and "List of Solar System probes").FraPado86 (talk) 15:18, 1 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't see a number of features explained anywhere. Why are some listed in white, others black letters in white boxes? What are the solid line/dotted lines? What are the balls? Why are some two different colors? More explanation will add more value to the image. Rmhermen (talk) 02:08, 2 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks, i will try to implement the picture with a better legend right away. FraPado86 (talk) 11:08, 2 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Added more explanation below the picture and changed its position in the page since I think it doesn't belong to the gallery section and I guess it would be good as an introductory image. I tried to respect all the guidelines that are given in the list of mission, and if anybody finds out that some mission is missing or some other shouldn't be there it can be edited. FraPado86 (talk) 14:45, 3 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Merge proposal?[edit]

What's up with that merge proposal from May 2014? Moving content from Space probe#Some notable probes into this article? I can't see any discussion going on nor any reasoning for that change. Well... for what it's worth: I no Disagree, it'd basically mean permanently removing an entire section, while it is quite valuable highlighting some notable probes. That said though: I think this section in space probe article needs an improvements: at a very least adding {{see also|Timeline of Solar System exploration}} and altering it's name to one that's more... serious. SkywalkerPL (talk) 08:25, 1 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have removed the undiscussed templates. Cleanup of space probe doesn't need to involve this page. Rmhermen (talk) 15:56, 1 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Why do Pioneers 10 and 11 appear on the "interplanetary" space section, and the Voyagers 1 and 2 on Jupiter, when all 4 ships where intended for interplanetery space at the end, and first thrown to fly-by Jupiter for gravity assists (and the Voyagers and Pioneer 11 fly-by Saturn, and Voyager 2 Uranus and Nepture too..).

Why is no proper section for Uranus or Neptune, and there is a section for Pluto??

That graph is awesome for 1-objective only missions. For all of the moon mission or others it is AWESOME and very detailed, but for multi-flyby's missions like Voyagers, Pioneers and even New Horizons it is just terrible. Also for example Rosetta did in total 3 gravity assist to Earth, one to Mars, fly-by'ed 2 asteroids and ended up at the comet, where is all that information?

That graph could be excellent with horizontal lines and those multi-celestial body missions getting on every section where they belong. For example Voyager 2 starting on Jupiter, then moving to Saturn section, then moving to Uranus section, then moving to Neptune section, and ending up on Interplanetary Space. There should be also an Interestelar section for Voyager 1.

Also if there's a section for Titan, why there isn't one for the rest of moons which had been fly-by'd also? the fact that huygens landed there isn't enough to justify a section for itself and not the others.

Don't consider me wrong, that graph is awesome for the most part, but it should re-made the sections in order to reflect the missions with multi-visits, add new sections for the proper missions to planets, order them properly (pluto shouldn't be the last after comets and interplanetary space..) and if needed separate it in 2 versions for the moons to get extremely good detailed graph of every single fly-by :)

EDIT: There is also too much blue stuff and it's very hard to diferentiate all those sections using closely shades of blue for a normal person.

— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:50, 4 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agree You raised several very good concerns. I agree with pretty much everything. If I may add something:
IMHO there should be no separate group for Pluto, but rather one for Dwarf planets, including Vesta and Ceres.
In 1920x1080 this image is very difficult to read, while the color-coding along with legend spread on top and bottom of the graph doesn't make it any easier (there's really a lot of scrolling up/down and left/right trying to look up any information, as the symbols along with colors rarely make it intuitive). Perhaps add a text label with the meaning of each color every 10 years? Also make sure that the colors on a legend are used in exactly the same order they are used for the graph backgrounds, from left to right, because right now they... seem to be in a chronological order by the fill colors? That really adds to the confusion, especially with the shades of blue, as already pointed out. I have quite a bit of knowledge on a topic and still was really confused by what information this graph is trying to convey.
Looks like it really needs some change to the logic behind it, as it seems to have a lot of problems accommodating to the missions that had more than one body as a primary objective. To give you another example on top of what mentioned: According to the graph Mariner 10 is a Venus flyby mission that begun it's mission with Mercury as a secondary objective (what makes no sense to begin with), while according to the article - both Venus and Mercury were a primary objectives, while interplanetary space would perfectly fit as a secondary objective.
Chang'e 2 is marked as a failure?
SkywalkerPL (talk) 12:10, 5 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

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Is there a flagicon for the European Space Agency (ESA)? Because actually it is the ESA which conduct the european space missions and not the European Union. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Lord Witwenmacher (talkcontribs) 11:40, 2 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

From what I can tell, no. There is however File:ESA LOGO.svg, but that one is WP:NFC. The alternatives File:ESA logo.svg, File:ESA logo simple.svg, and File:ESA logo.png are according to their descriptions WP:PD, but I don't know enough about how the legal stuff works to be able to tell if that's true or not. A few images that aren't the actual ESA logo but can be used to represent the ESA anyway have been uploaded for the express purpose of not being problematic from a copyright perspective, namely File:Not the esa logo.svg, File:Not the esa logo.png, File:Not the esa logo 2.png, and File:Not the esa flag.png. TompaDompa (talk) 17:39, 20 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Proposed split/merge[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

It seems terribly redundant to have this article, Timeline of space exploration, and Timeline of the Space Race when they overlap so much. I can kind of see the point in having a separate one for the space race, but I can't quite figure out why this one exists. The main thing it adds compared to Timeline of space exploration is the "Planned or scheduled" section, which I think should probably be made into its own article anyway. The main reason I'm taking this to the talk page instead of just WP:BOLDly merging it myself is because I want to know if there is any good reason why these articles were made like this in the first place. A secondary reason is that I'd like some input as to what the new article about future missions should be called. TompaDompa (talk) 11:34, 14 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Oppose Completely different lists with different criteria. Other list is restricted only to missions with some notion of "firstness"; this list is restricted only to Solar System. Each list is already long separately. Rmhermen (talk) 21:40, 14 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I take your point on different criteria, however both lists have poorly-defined and/or poorly-adhered to inclusion criteria. I would favour combining them into a single list, but tightening up the inclusion criteria is an alternative. Something has to be done, at least. I also wouldn't say they're prohibitively long – and if the lists get too long, I think splitting them chronologically would be preferable to splitting them by the current nebulous inclusion criteria. TompaDompa (talk) 09:16, 20 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oppose This list is not poorly defined. I agree with Rmhermen, those are different lists with different criteria and both are very useful. I would leave it as it is now. Jirka.h23 (talk) 06:53, 8 September 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oppose per above comments. Randy Kryn (talk) 11:34, 13 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Strong support per nom. Merge this into timeline of space exploration. --Soumyabrata (talksubpages) 12:06, 27 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And why do you support it? Don't you think that Timeline of space exploration is completely different list? It contains only the first and exceptional missions of whole space exploration, this one contains the entire history of missions focused on Solar System, different lists with different criteria and very useful. Jirka.h23 (talk) 06:48, 28 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Success/failure column[edit]

What do you think, would a success/failure column with {{success}}, {{failure}}, {{partial success}}, etc. improve the article? TompaDompa (talk) 08:13, 20 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Moon Express Lunar Scout[edit]

According to

currently foreseen launch date is July 2020. Nothing new from Moon express themselves, which could be interpreted as "not anytime soon". I would suggest to either move to 2020 or remove for the time being. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:12, 16 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I removed it. TompaDompa (talk) 08:49, 16 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Proposed missions[edit]

This page has several entries for missions with launch dates in the future, some very far into the future. I have removed some of these entries (though they have since been re-added by other editors, which is why I'm bringing this up here on the talk page) for not meeting the requirements for inclusion when it comes to sourcing. In particular, they fall short of WP:FUTURE (Individual scheduled or expected future events should be included only if the event is notable and almost certain to take place.—I would especially draw your attention to the latter part) and WP:EXCEPTIONAL (Any exceptional claim requires multiple high-quality sources.). There is also the issue of WP:RUMOUR (Wikipedia is not a collection of product announcements and rumors. [...] Speculation and rumor, even from reliable sources, are not appropriate encyclopedic content.). Including these entries is contrary to Wikipedia's mission as an encyclopedia. We are WP:NOT here to conduct PR for space agencies, which is what we are in effect doing by uncritically listing their aspirations here. Nor are we here to predict the future.

The argument that has been made for retaining these entries, we can say that none of these are almost certain to take place, misses the mark by a staggering amount. Firstly because it works better as an argument for removing all the entries rather than retaining all the entries, and secondly because there is a world of difference between something like the James Webb Space Telescope—where we have a set launch date sourced to NASA, the sources are up-to-date, and the telescope has been assembled—and something like the crewed phase of the Chinese Mars exploration program—where we have a single source from thirteen years ago, that source is the Chinese military, and what it says is that anonymous sources speculate that it may happen in a few decades[a]—or Chang'e 7—where the source is The Planetary Society (basically a space exploration fan club) and it outright admits that it is all very uncertain as of the date of publishing.
Part of our job as editors is to assess the WP:RELIABILITY of the sources, not just uncritically repeat what they say. An important aspect of that is that WP:AGE MATTERS—in this field delays, cancellations, and changes in plans in general are very common, which makes sources become outdated extremely quickly (five years is old, ten years is ancient). This also means that statements about the future get increasingly dubious the more distant the future events are; most events more than five years away are largely speculative, and anything more than ten years away is pretty much pure guesswork.

This is not Category:Proposed space probes or List of proposed space observatories. This is Timeline of Solar System exploration. These highly speculative "future event"-type entries do not fall within that scope. There may be a place on Wikipedia where this material belongs, but this page is not it. TompaDompa (talk) 00:17, 13 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In my opinion, this certainly does not fall into the WP:RUMOURS category, it also meets the requirements for WP:EXCEPTIONAL, since these are not sources of inferior classes, such as the tabloid newspapers. In my opinion it also meets the essentials of WP:FUTURE, because I guess that we don't have to argue about their significance for mankind, and they should take place, if these events are officially announced by agencies, which means they are already spending money on them. Pages like List of proposed space observatories focus on something else, observing the universe, not just the Solar System. On the contrary, what I agree with you, is that missions like Chang'e 7, is really poorly sourced, it really differs from others. Regards. Jirka.h23 (talk) 14:38, 16 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
List of proposed space observatories does indeed focus on something else, but the point was that there is precedent for an article like list of proposed space probes, where this kind of material would be a better fit.
Frankly, I think the extent to which you are willing to uncritically take these sources at face value (or even use them to support stronger statements than they actually make, such as in the case of the crewed phase of the Chinese Mars exploration program) is ridiculous, even borderline gullible at times. I think you vastly underestimate how common it is for space missions to be cancelled, delayed, or significantly altered. It also seems we disagree about what is and isn't a high-quality source in this context; I wouldn't consider The Japan News or The Asian Age (the sources for Chandrayaan-3) to be high-quality sources, for instance. TompaDompa (talk) 16:36, 16 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I went ahead and created Draft:List of proposed space probes. By having such a page, we can remove this poorly-sourced garbage content from this otherwise well-sourced article. TompaDompa (talk) 19:00, 7 November 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Don't you think it will soon be full of space probes that target Earth? Like meteorological, climatic and other? Or deep space? You should better specify this page by focusing on Solar System exploration, then it might make sense. Jirka.h23 (talk) 07:15, 8 November 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You could by all means move it to Draft:List of proposed Solar System probes. TompaDompa (talk) 09:29, 8 November 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would have no problem with that, that's fine by me. Jirka.h23 (talk) 11:07, 8 November 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I slightly modified the article to: List of proposed Solar System spacecrafts, because ships with crews can not be called probes, and moved it there. Jirka.h23 (talk) 12:08, 12 November 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  1. ^ A machine translation of the relevant sentence reads There are even space experts who envision that China will realize unmanned Mars exploration between 2014 and 2033, and manned Mars exploration from 2040 to 2060.

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