To infinity and beyond

Space missions to look forward to this decade

THE SUN

The European Space Agency's (ESA) Solar orbiter launched on February 10, 2020. It will study the Sun's "uncharted polar regions."

Solar orbiter will also study how solar storms affect our planet. Read more.

the moon

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NASA plans to launch humans to our Moon in 2024. The Artemis mission will not only do science on the Moon but also help humanity prepare for a crewed mission to Mars in the 2030s. Read more.

NEAR-EARTH ENVIRONMENT

NASA's DART mission (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) is slated to launch in October 2021 and will slam into an asteroid's moon to see if the impact can alter the orbit of the moon.

The DART mission will test the "kinetic impactor" technique of planetary defense, which would use the same method to knock an asteroid off an Earth-bound course. Read more.

MARS

Mars already hosts a rover and a lander: NASA's Curiosity and Insight, respectively. Many orbiters, from the US, India, Europe, and Russia are studying the planet as well.

And more are coming.

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NASA's Perseverance rover will launch in July 2020. Perseverance will study an ancient river delta, looking for signs of ancient life. Read more.

China's space agency plans to launch a combination lander and rover mission, called Tianwen-1, also in July 2020. Read more.

The United Arab Emirates is also planning to launch a Mars orbiter in July 2020, which will study the Red Planet's atmosphere. Read more.

Japan's space agency is planning to launch a mission to study Mars's moons, Phobos and Diemos, in 2024. Read more.

in 2022, ESA and Roscosmos (Russia's space agency) are teaming up to launch a rover, called Rosalind Franklin, to search for signs of life on Mars. Read more.

asteroid belt

In 2022, NASA will launch Psyche: a mission to a metal asteroid, also called Psyche. Scientists think the asteroid Psyche is the ancient core of a planet. Read more.

JUPITER

Jupiter's moon Europa has an internal water ocean underneath a shell of ice. Sometime this decade, NASA will launch its Europa Clipper mission to explore this mysterious moon and study its potential habitability. Read more.

ESA also has a mission planned to Europa. The agency's JUpiter ICy moons Explorer (or JUICE) is slated to launch in 2022. Read more.

NASA's Lucy mission is slated to launch in October 2021 and will be the first to study the Trojan asteroids — the group of asteroids that lead and follow Jupiter in its orbit around the Sun.

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Lucy will travel to eight different asteroids over its 12 year journey. Read more.

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Saturn

NASA is scheduled to launch its Dragonfly mission to Saturn's moon Titan in 2026. Titan is the only other place in the solar system where liquid sits on the surface and rains from the sky. Only on Titan, that liquid is methane. Read more.

THE UNIVERSE

NASA is planning to launch its highly anticipated James Webb Space Telescope in 2021. The telescope will show us close-up views of black holes, the insides of planet-forming dust clouds, and possibly even habitable exoplanets. Read more.

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