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.
New! International Space Station Dashboard
Our ISS Dashboard shows the station's current position, its current crew roster, live high-definition video from the Columbus module, and more.
Recent Mission Status Updates
Curiosity spent a total of four weeks at Confidence Hills, feeding samples to SAM and CheMin several times. On two weekends during this period, the rover's activities were interrupted by faults with the robotic arm. Curiosity drove away from Confidence Hills on sol 780, and is ready to observe comet Siding Spring over the weekend.
What a huge relief: there is finally a place for New Horizons to visit beyond Pluto. A team of researchers led by John Spencer has discovered three possible targets, all in the Cold Classical part of the Kuiper belt. One is particularly easy to reach. New Horizons would fly past the 30-45-kilometer object in January 2019.
Space Mission Timelines
In 2016, The Planetary Society’s LightSail program will take the technology a step further.