Science Programs

Astrophysics Explorers

Small- and medium-class, PI-led Astrophysics missions, as well as Astrophysics missions of opportunity, are selected under the Explorer program, and are managed by the Astrophysics Division.

Astrophysics Research

Sponsored research programs prepare for the next generation of missions through both theoretical research and applied technology investigations.

Cosmic Origins

In order to understand how the Universe has changed from its initial simple state following the Big Bang into the magnificent Universe we see as we look at the night sky, we must understand how stars, galaxies and planets are formed over time


Discovery is an ongoing program that offers the scientific community the opportunity to assemble a team and design exciting, focused investigations that complement NASA's larger planetary science explorations

Earth System Science Pathfinder

The Earth System Science Pathfinder (ESSP) Program is a science-driven Program designed to provide an innovative approach to Earth science research by providing periodic, competitively selected opportunities to accommodate new and emergent scientific priorities

Earth Systematic Missions

The Earth Systematic Missions (ESM) Program includes a broad range of multi-disciplinary science investigations aimed at developing a scientific understanding of the Earth system and its response to natural and human-induced forces.

Exoplanet Exploration

NASA's Exoplanet Exploration Program is leading humankind on a voyage of unprecedented scope and ambition, promising insight into two of our most timeless questions: Where did we come from? Are we alone?


The mission of the Explorers Program is to provide frequent flight opportunities for world-class scientific investigations from space utilizing innovative, streamlined and efficient management approaches within the heliophysics and astrophysics science areas. 


The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)/ Polar Operational Environmental Satellite (POES) program is a key element in National Weather Service (NWS) operations.

Heliophysics Research

NASA's heliophysics research program supports a wide array of research to study the interconnected system linkint the sun to Earth, to the planets, and the particles and magnetic energy coursing through space itself.

Joint Agency Satellite Division

The Joint Agency Satellite Division (JASD) is an organization within NASA’s Science Mission Directorate with broad cross-cutting responsibilities.

Living With a Star

The Living With a Star (LWS) program emphasizes the science necessary to understand those aspects of the Sun and the Earth's space environment that affect life and society. 

Mars Exploration

The Mars Exploration Program is a science-driven program that seeks to understand whether Mars was, is, or can be, a habitable world.

New Frontiers

The New Frontiers Program represents a critical step in the advancement of solar system exploration.

Outer Planets Flagship

The Galileo and Cassini missions to Jupiter and Saturn have greatly deepened our understanding of those giant planets and their intriguing moons.

Physics of the Cosmos

Our quest to understand how the universe works starts with the study of the very basic building blocks of our existence - matter, energy, space, and time - and how they behave under the extreme physical conditions that characterize the infant and evolving Universe.

Radioisotope Power Systems

The Radioisotope Power Systems (RPS) Program is a technology development effort, managed by NASA, that is strategically investing in nuclear power technologies that would maintain NASA's current space science capabilities and could enable future space exploration missions.

Robotic Lunar Exploration

The Vision for Space Exploration is fostering a renaissance in lunar science, as the return of humans to the Moon both requires and enables greater scientific understanding of Earth’s natural satellite.

Solar Terrestrial Probes

The Solar Terrestrial Probes (STP) Program is part of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate Heliophysics Division.