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Space Missions

Our Emissaries Across the Solar System

Since 1957, humanity has launched thousands of spacecraft. These robotic emissaries follow in the footsteps of their predecessors—testaments to our long-lived desire to understand our place in the Cosmos. 

There are currently spacecraft exploring Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Saturn, as well as a comet and an asteroid. The Voyager spacecraft are hurtling out of our solar system, while New Horizons speeds toward a 2015 encounter with Pluto. Closer to home, we have probes in lunar orbit, a handful of solar physics missions, space telescopes, and a small army of Earth-observing satellites. In Earth orbit, the International Space Station continues to soar around the planet with a continually staffed crew of astronauts and cosmonauts. 

Our space missions pages are your portal to news and facts about our ongoing exploration of the solar system. 

Recent Mission Status Updates

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Digs Marathon Valley Walkabout

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2015/09/03 08:04 CDT

Opportunity drove farther into Marathon Valley in August, dug into what appears to be a water-altered rock, and took a lot of picture postcards in what is turning out to be a distinctively different site from any that the mission has found since the robot field geologist landed in 2004.

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New Horizons extended mission target selected

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla and Casey Dreier on 2015/09/01 06:09 CDT | 5 comments

The New Horizons mission has formally selected its next target after Pluto: a tiny, dim, frozen world currently named 2014 MU69. The spacecraft will perform a series of four rocket firings in October and November to angle its trajectory to pass close by 2014 MU69 in early January 2019. In so doing, New Horizons will become the first flyby craft to pass by a target that was not discovered before the spacecraft launched.

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Space Mission Timelines

Missions to Venus and Mercury

A list of key dates and basic facts on all the missions that have explored Venus and Mercury.

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Missions to Mars

The missions, both successful and failed, that have flown by, orbited, or landed on the Red Planet and its moons

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Missions beyond Mars

The spacecraft that have traveled to asteroids, outer planets, comets, and beyond

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Missions to the Moon

A timeline of missions to the Moon

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Cassini’s Tour of the Saturn System

13 years, 250 orbits, and 127 gravity-assist flybys – explore the Saturn system with NASA's Cassini mission.

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Pictures of Spacecraft

Space mission artwork, snapshots of construction, launches, and photos of spacecraft in space

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Missions to study the Sun

Spacecraft that study our dynamic Sun and help us understand how it affects our planet.

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