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  MISSIONS
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Current Missions
* Current missions are listed from earliest launch to most recent.


Voyager, the Grandest Tour Voyager to the outer planets
Launches: August 20 and September 5, 1977
   The twin spacecraft Voyager 1 and 2 flew by and observed Jupiter and Saturn, while Voyager 2 went on to visit Uranus and Neptune. Both craft are now heading out of the solar system. In 1998, Voyager 1 became the most distant human-made object in space.
Voyager home page
Voyager, the Grandest Tour
Mission description
 
Ulysses solar polar mission Ulysses solar polar mission
Launch: October 6, 1990
   A joint project between NASA and the European Space Agency, Ulysses was carried into Earth orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery and propelled toward Jupiter, where the giant planet's gravity helped direct the craft's flight path into an unusual orbit around the Sun. It has since made several orbital passes of the Sun's north and south poles.
Ulysses home page
Mission description
 
Wide Field and Planetary Camera Wide Field and Planetary Camera
Launches: April 24, 1990; December 2, 1993
   These two instruments have served as the main camera capturing pictures on NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. When an optical flaw was discovered in Hubble's main mirror, JPL's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 corrected the space telescope's vision and saved the mission.
Mission Description
 
Topex/Poseidon Topex/Poseidon
Launch: August 10, 1992
   A joint effort between NASA and France's National Center for Space Studies, this satellite mission measures sea level every 10 days. This mission allows scientists to chart the height of the seas across ocean basins with an accuracy of less than 10 centimeters (4 inches), affording a unique view of ocean phenomena such as El Niño and La Niña.
Ocean Surface Topography home page
Mission description
 
Mars Global Surveyor Mars Global Surveyor
Launch: November 7, 1996
    This orbiter has studied the entire Martian surface, atmosphere and interior, and has returned more data about the red planet than all other Mars missions combined. Among key science findings so far, Global Surveyor has taken pictures of gullies and debris flow features that suggest there may be current sources of liquid water, similar to an aquifer, at or near the surface of the planet.
Global Surveyor home page
Mission description
 
Cassini-Huygens to Saturn Cassini-Huygens to Saturn
Launch: October 15, 1997
    A joint endeavor of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency, Cassini is sending a sophisticated robotic spacecraft to orbit the ringed planet and study the Saturnian system in detail over a four-year period. Onboard Cassini is a scientific probe called Huygens that will be released from the main spacecraft to parachute through the atmosphere to the surface of Saturn's largest and most interesting moon, Titan, which is shrouded by an opaque atmosphere.
Cassini home page
Mission description
 
Stardust Stardust
Launch: February 7, 1999
   The Stardust spacecraft will fly through the cloud of dust that surrounds the nucleus of comet Wild-2 and, for the first time ever, bring cometary material back to Earth.
Stardust home page
Mission description
 
Quick Scatterometer Quick Scatterometer
Launch: June 19, 1999
   This ocean-observing satellite carries an instrument called a scatterometer, which operates by sending radar pulses to the ocean surface and measuring the "backscattered" or echoed radar pulses bounced back to the satellite. This instrument can acquire hundreds of times more observations of surface wind velocity each day than can ships and buoys.
Seawinds home page
Mission description
 
Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer
Launch: December 18, 1999
   This imaging instrument flying on NASA's Terra satellite is designed to obtain high-resolution global, regional and local views of Earth in 14 color bands.
Mission home page
Mission description
 
Multi-angle Imaging Spectro-Radiometer Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer
Launch: December 18, 1999
   Carried onboard NASA's Terra satellite, this instrument is a sophisticated imaging system that collects images from nine widely spaced angles as it glides above Earth.
Instrument home page
Mission description
 
Active Cavity Irradiance Monitor Satellite Active Cavity Irradiance Monitor Satellite
Launch: December 20, 1999
   This satellite is designed to monitor the total amount of the Sun's energy reaching Earth. These data will help climatologists improve their predictions of climate change and global warming over the next century.
Satellite home page
Mission description
 
Keck Interferometer Keck Interferometer
First light: March 2001
   The Keck Interferometer links two 10-meter (33-foot) telescopes on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. The linked telescopes form the world's most powerful optical telescope system. They will be used to search for planets around nearby stars, as part of NASA's quest to find habitable, Earth-like planets.
Telescope home page
 
2001 Mars Odyssey 2001 Mars Odyssey
Launch: April 7, 2001
   Mars Odyssey is an orbiting spacecraft designed to determine the composition of the Martian surface, to detect water and shallow buried ice, and to study the radiation environment.
Odyssey home page
Mission description
 
Genesis Genesis
Launch: August 8, 2001
   Following launch August 8, 2001, the Genesis spacecraft headed toward an orbit around L1, a point between Earth and the Sun where the gravity of both bodies is balanced, to collect particles of the solar wind. After two years, the samples will be returned to Earth.
Genesis home page
Mission description
 
Jason 1 Jason 1
Launch: December 7, 2001
   This oceanography mission is a follow-up to Topex/Poseidon and will monitor global ocean circulation, discover the tie between the oceans and atmosphere, improve global climate predictions, and monitor events such as El Niño.
Jason home page
Mission description
 
Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment
Launch: Mar. 17, 2002
   This joint U.S.-German mission consists of two spacecraft flying in tandem to measure Earth's gravitational field very precisely. This will enable a better understanding of ocean surface currents and ocean heat transport.
Grace home page
Mission description
 
Atmospheric Infrared Sounder Atmospheric Infrared Sounder
Launch: May 4, 2002
   This instrument is to be flown aboard NASA's Aqua satellite to make highly accurate measurements of air temperature, humidity, clouds and surface temperatures.
Instrument home page
Mission description
 
SeaWinds on Adeos 2 SeaWinds on Midori 2
Launch: December 13, 2002
   This scatterometer instrument, called SeaWinds, flies on Japan's Midori 2. Scatterometers sense ripples caused by winds near the ocean's surface, from which scientists compute wind speed and direction.
Instrument home page
Mission description
 
Galaxy Evolution Explorer Galaxy Evolution Explorer
Launch: April 28, 2003
   This mission uses ultraviolet wavelengths to measure the history of star formation 80 percent of the way back to the Big Bang.
Galex home page
Mission description
 
Mars Exploration Rovers Mars Exploration Rovers
First rover launch: June 10, 2003. Second rover launch: July 7, 2003
   Two landers will convey to Mars a pair of powerful rovers expected to trek up to about 40 meters (44 yards) across the planet's surface each day.
Mars Exploration Rover home page
Mission description
 
Space Infrared Telescope Facility Space Infrared Telescope Facility
Launch: August 25, 2003, Eastern time (August 24, Pacific time)
   This mission is an infrared telescope that will study the early universe, old galaxies and forming stars, and will detect dust discs around stars where planets may be forming.
Mission home page
Mission description
 
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