OSIRIS-REx spacecraft hovers above the asteroid surface, arm extended to collect a surface sample
Dragonfly Landing
juno arrives

New Frontiers

The New Frontiers Program is designed to accomplish focused planetary science investigations, using innovative and efficient management approaches. The Program’s prime objective is to answer unique science questions in the exploration of the Solar System.

The New Frontiers Program strives to produce the following outcomes:

  • Advancement in scientific knowledge and exploration of the elements of our solar system and other planetary systems.
  • Addition of scientific data, maps, and other products to the Planetary Data System (PDS) archive for all scientists to access.
  • Announcement of scientific progress and results in the peer-reviewed literature, popular media, scholastic curricula, and materials that can be used to inspires and motivate students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
  • Expansion of the pool of well-qualified PIs and project managers for implementation of future missions in New Frontiers and other programs, through current involvement as Co-Investigators and other team members.
  • Implementation of technology advancement proven in related programs.

Program Approach

New Frontiers investigation proposals are solicited via the Announcement of Opportunity (AO) process. Each mission proposal is led by a principal investigator (PI) who is typically affiliated with a university or research institution.

The PI selects team members from industry, small businesses, government laboratories and universities to develop the scientific objectives and instrument payload. The team brings together the skills and expertise needed to carry out a mission from concept development through data analysis. The PI is responsible for the overall success of the project by assuring that cost, schedule and performance objectives are met.

The New Frontiers Program seeks to contain total mission cost and development time and improve performance through the use of validated new technologies, efficient management, and control of design, development and operations costs while maintaining a strong commitment to flight safety.

NASA is committed to the principles of open competition and merit review as a key to excellence. Mission proposals in response to the AO are chosen through an extensive competitive peer review process. Proposals require careful tradeoffs between science and cost to produce investigations with the highest possible science value for the price.

Missions Supporting this Program

Dragonfly Landing


Making multiple flights, the Dragonfly dual-quadcopter will explore a variety of locations on Saturn's moon Titan. (Launching in 2027)

juno arrives


Juno is the first explorer to peer below Jupiter's dense clouds to answer questions about the gas giant and the origins of our solar system. (2011-present)

New Horizons

New Horizons

The first spacecraft to explore Pluto closely, New Horizons also explored in the Kuiper Belt the most distant object ever closely viewed. (2006-present)

OSIRIS-REx spacecraft hovers above the asteroid surface, arm extended to collect a surface sample


OSIRIS-REx is the first U.S. mission to collect an asteroid sample, returning it to Earth in fall 2023 then continuing on to study another asteroid. (2016-present)

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