The New Solar System begins with a history of the exploration of the solar system, outlining the current extent of our knowledge and the prospects for future exploration, and a chapter on its origin. It closes with chapters on the possibilities for life elsewhere in the solar system and on the search for other planetary systems and what they teach us about our own. In between, the components of the solar system are systematically covered. There are the obvious chapters on the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, the Moon, and Mars, along with four comparative chapters on the atmospheres and interiors of the terrestrial and giant planets. There are three chapters on Jupiter's Galilean satellites, one on Titan, and one on Trito, Pluto, and Charon. Other chapters cover mid-size icy satellites, "small worlds" generally, comets, meteorites, asteroids, and cometary reservoirs. And there are chapters on magnetospheres and interplanetary space, on collisions, and on planetary rings.
The contributors don't just describe these bodies, however. They document their histories and the processes that have created, moulded, and placed them, on all time scales from solar system-wide orbital dynamics and geological processes to chemical processes and collisions. And along the way they explain the basic science behind it all. The result is a volume that brings to life both the unique features of particular bodies and the fundamentals of planetary science.