J. Phys. IV France 139 (2006) 21-35
Future steps in the exploration of the Solar SystemM. Coradini
European Space Agency, Science Directorate, 8-10 rue Mario Nikis, 75738 Paris Cedex 15, France
(Published online: 9 January 2007)
The last ten years have been characterized by a renewed worldwide effort of exploration of the Solar System, which has produced spectacular new data and concluded the "discovery" phase. The next decades will focus on refinement of knowledge and will tackle specific problems such as the boundary conditions for the onset and maintenance of life on planetary bodies. Final understanding of the formation and evolution of planetary systems is expected, also based on the observation of extra solar systems and possible detection of "habitable" extra solar planets.
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