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Planetary exploration missions are conducted by some of the most sophisticated robots ever built. Through them we extend our senses to the farthest reaches of the Solar System and into remote and hostile environments, where the secrets of our origins and destiny lie hidden.

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DivisionNameLaunch DatePhase
Planets Cassini
The Cassini Mission is in the midst of a detailed study of Saturn, its rings, its magnetosphere, its icy satellites, and its moon Titan. Cassini also delivered a probe (called Huygens, provided by the European Space Agency) to Titan, and ...
19971015 October 15, 1997 3Operating
Planets Dawn
The Dawn mission intends to orbit Vesta and Ceres, two of the largest asteroids in the solar system. According to current theories, the very different properties of Vesta and Ceres are the result of the asteroids being formed and evolving ...
20070927 September 27, 2007 3Operating
Planets Juno
The Juno mission is the next scientific investigation in the NASA New Frontiers Program. The mission's primary science goal is to significantly improve our understanding of the formation and structure of Jupiter.
20110805 August 05, 2011 3Operating
Planets Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) is the first mission in NASA's plan to return to the moon and then to travel to Mars and beyond. This mission is part of SMD's Robotic Lunar Exploration program.
20090617 June 17, 2009 3Operating
Planets Mars Exploration Rover - Opportunity
The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity was originally designed for a 90 Sol mission (a Sol, one Martian day, is slightly longer than an Earth day at 24 hours and 37 minutes). Its mission has been extended several times as it ...
20030707 July 07, 2003 3Operating
Planets Mars Express (ASPERA-3)
Mars Express is exploring the atmosphere and surface of Mars from polar orbit. The mission's main objective is to search for sub-surface water from orbit and deploy a lander onto the Martian surface.
20030602 June 02, 2003 3Operating
Planets Mars Odyssey
The 2001 Mars Odyssey is an orbiter carrying science experiments designed to make global observations of Mars to improve our understanding of the planet's climate and geologic history, including the search for water and evidence of life-sustaining environments.
20010407 April 07, 2001 3Operating
Planets Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) will seek to find out about the history of water on Mars with its science instruments. They will zoom in for extreme close-up photography of the martian surface to analyze minerals, look for subsurface water, ...
20050812 August 12, 2005 3Operating
Planets Mars Science Laboratory
NASA proposes to develop and to launch a roving long-range, long-duration science laboratory that will be a major leap in surface measurements and pave the way for a future sample return mission. The mission will also demonstrate the technology for ...
20111126 November 26, 2011 3Operating
Planets MAVEN
The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN), set to launch in 2013, will explore the planet’s upper atmosphere, ionosphere and interactions with the sun and solar wind. Scientists will use MAVEN data to determine the role that loss of ...
20131118 November 18, 2013 3Operating
MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging (MESSENGER) is a scientific investigation of the planet Mercury, the least explored terrestrial planet. This mission is part of SMD's Discovery program.
20040803 August 03, 2004 3Operating
Planets New Horizons
The New Horizons Pluto-Kuiper Belt Mission will help us understand worlds at the edge of our solar system, by making the first reconnaissance of Pluto and Charon. The mission will then visit one or more Kuiper Belt Objects, in the ...
20060119 January 19, 2006 3Operating
Planets Rosetta
The Rosetta Orbiter will study the origin of comets, the relationship between cometary and interstellar material and its implications with regard to the origin of the Solar System. This mission is part of SMD's Solar System Exploration Program.
20040302 March 02, 2004 3Operating