Upcoming Mission Milestones
- Early-to-mid November 2020: Crew Dragon Crew-1 ISS flight
- 14 November 2020: Space Launch System Artemis 1 hotfire test
- Late November 2020: Chang'e-5 launch
- 6 December 2020: Hayabusa2 Earth sample return
Venus was one of the first planets to be visited by spacecraft from Earth. Probes do not last long on the surface, where the atmosphere is 50 times denser than Earth's and temperatures are hot enough to melt lead.
Earth, Planetary Defense & Space Telescopes
The Korean Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter is the country's first Moon mission and will launch in 2022 to demonstrate technologies needed for future missions.
Explore the Moon:
It only takes a couple days to send most spacecraft to the Moon, so it's not surprising that humans have sent more missions there than anywhere else. The Moon is also the only celestial body besides Earth where humans have visited.
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is an orbiting spacecraft studying the geology and climate of the planet since 2006. It hosts the most powerful high-resolution camera ever sent to Mars.
ESA's ExoMars 2022 mission will deliver a European rover named Rosalind Franklin, and a Russian surface platform named Kazachok, to the surface of Mars. The rover will travel across the Martian surface to search for signs of life.
Japan's Martian Moons eXploration mission will launch in the mid-2020s on a mission to explore the moons of Mars.
Asteroids, Comets & Small Worlds
The European Space Agency's Comet Interceptor's mission will launch in 2028 and wait for a scientifically interesting comet to be discovered. It will then intercept the comet, splitting into 3 spacecraft for multi-point observations.
Explore Asteroids, Comets & Small Worlds:
There are countless worlds to explore in our solar system besides the classical planets. Studying these asteroids, comets, and small worlds reveal important insights about how planets are made and where we Earthlings come from.
Only 4 spacecraft have ever made it out to Saturn. Our most comprehensive look at the planet came from NASA and the European Space Agency's Cassini-Huygens mission, which spent 13 years exploring Saturn and its moons.
NASA's Roman Space Telescope is the next step in our hunt for Earth-sized exoplanets and our understanding of mysterious dark energy. It has no launch date, and needs your help to get it in space.
The first Mars microphone, sponsored by The Planetary Society, flew aboard NASA's Polar Lander spacecraft, which crashed on the Red Planet in 1999.
It's a banner year for sample return missions. In 2020, China, Japan, and the United States are all scheduled to have sample return missions in flight, seeking to retrieve material from near-Earth asteroids, the Moon, and eventually Mars.
The Planetary Society has a new improved guide to all the places we've landed—or crashed—on Mars, plus planned locations for the upcoming Perseverance, Tianwen-1, and Rosalind Franklin rover missions.
An undergraduate physics research student describes her visit to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to see the Perseverance rover before it shipped to Florida for launch.