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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. 

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

New Horizons enters safe mode 10 days before Pluto flyby [UPDATED]

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/07/05 10:25 CDT | 18 comments

New Horizons decided to put on a little 4th of July drama for the mission's fans. It's currently in safe mode, and it will likely be a day or two before it recovers and returns to science, but it remains on course for the July 14 flyby. Here's the mission update in its entirety.
[UPDATE]: Normal operations are planned to resume July 7.

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Pluto's progression: Third-to-last Pluto day before encounter

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/07/03 08:49 CDT | 6 comments

Only two days remain until New Horizons' historic encounter with Pluto....two Pluto days, that is. Pluto and Charon rotate together once every 6.4 days, so as New Horizons has approached the pair over the last week, we've been treated to one stately progression of all of their longitudes.

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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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