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An artist view of the main bodies of the Solar System. The relative size of the orbits and of the planets is not respected. The Sun, on the left has been the target of numerous science missions conducted by ESA such as the Ulysses mission to the solar poles or the Solar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). A close flyby, at a distance of only 45 radii is planned with the Solar Orbiter mission, to be launched in 2012. Around the Sun are, listed according to increasing distance: -Mercury, to be visited by ESA's BepiColombo mission circa 2015, -Venus (shown here without its cloud cover), which will be the objective of ESA's Venus Express in 2005, -Earth, with its natural satellite, the Moon, due to capture ESA's SMART-1 probe in early 2005, -Mars, target of the Mars Express mission in 2003 and of the Exo-Mars probe in 2009, -Jupiter, which was visited by Ulysses (on its way to the solar poles) in February 1992, and the joint NASA/ESA Cassini probe (on its way to Saturn) in December 2000, -Saturn, due to receive the Cassini/Huygens probe in July 2004, -Uranus (with its dark rings), -Neptune, -Pluto, almost invisible on its faraway orbit.