If there’s one agency that’s used to thinking ahead, that’s NASA. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has a lot of plans for the next two decades.
According to an illustration created by Bob Al-Greene and Mashable, there are plenty of missions set until 2030 that NASA plans to launch.
For instance, in September 2013, LADEE (Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer) is set to board on a 160-day-long mission around the moon, while MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission), which will launch in late 2013, seeks to find out what the climate was like on Mars by exploring its upper atmosphere, ionosphere, and interaction with the Sun and solar wind.
Next year marks the launch of the Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission which wants to find out how the Sun’s and Earth’s magnetic fields connect and disconnect by using four identical spacecraft.
2015 is the year when the New Horizons spacecraft will finally pass Pluto and its moons, after travelling more than 3 billion miles.
Two missions are planned for 2016. Juno will try to study the structure of the Solar System’s biggest planet, Jupiter, and unveil its history, while InSight will try to place a lander on Mars to drill into the planet’s soil.
According to the same source, TESS will launch in 2017 and, by using telescopes, will search for transiting exoplanets to identify terrestrial planets in habitable zones of nearby stars.
The Solar Probe Plus will be launched in 2018, aiming to get as close as the Sun’s outer atmosphere. The James Webb Telescope is also scheduled for launch in 2018, hoping to find galaxies even farther away than its predecessor.
OSIRIS-Rex is a spacecraft that will be launched in 2018 and that aims to get close to an asteroid, get samples from it, and return to Earth in 2023.
The Mars Rover, NASA’s next rover, will travel for the Red planet in 2020, looking for signs of past life and other samples.
2025 will mark the year when a manned mission will head towards an asteroid, while 2030 might finally be the year men set foot on Mars.
The illustration was put together in honor of NASA’s 55th Anniversary celebrated on July 28.
- NASA Flooded with Asteroid Exploration Ideas. #NASAasteroid (prizesandchallenges.wordpress.com)
- NASA receives hundreds of responses to asteroid mission planning (cbsnews.com)