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Jet Propulsion Laboratory – Current Missions

Missions and instruments built or managed by JPL have visited every planet in our solar system and the sun and have entered interstellar space.

This illustration depicts the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite hovering above Earth

Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT)

Designed to make the first-ever global survey of Earth's surface water, the Surface Water and Ocean Topography, or SWOT, satellite will collect detailed measurements of how water bodies on Earth change over time.

Near Earth Asteroid Scout (NEA Scout)

NEA Scout is an exciting new mission that was recently selected by NASA's Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) by a team from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Marshall Space Flight Center.

EMIT spectrometer

Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation (EMIT)

The Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation (EMIT) is an Earth Ventures-Instrument (EVI-4) Mission to map the mineral composition of arid dust source regions via imaging spectroscopy in the visible and short-wave infrared range.

This artist's concept shows NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, which will carry the Mid-Infrared Instrument for imaging stars and galaxies in the mid-infrared spectrum.

Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI)

One of four instruments on the James Webb Space Telescope, the Mid-Infrared Instrument, or MIRI, studies planets, stars, and galaxies in infrared light.

Deep Space Network

The Deep Space Network is NASA’s international network of facilities used to communicate with faraway spacecraft exploring our solar system.

In this illustration, the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich spacecraft, the world's latest sea-level satellite, orbits Earth with its deployable solar panels extended.

Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich Satellite

Designed to measure the height of the ocean – a key component to understanding how Earth's climate is changing – Sentinel-6/Jason CS consists of two identical satellites that will be launched five years apart.

NASA's Perseverance Mars rover took a selfie with the Ingenuity helicopter, seen here about 13 feet (3.9 meters) from the rover. This image was taken by the WASTON camera on the rover's robotic arm on April 6, 2021.

Perseverance Rover

The Mars 2020 mission with its Perseverance rover is the first step of a roundtrip journey to return Mars samples to Earth for further study.

This enhanced color image of NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter was taken by the Mastcam-Z instrument aboard Perseverance on April 16, 2023, the 766th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's mission.


The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter is a small, autonomous aircraft. It was sent to Mars to perform experimental flight tests to determine if powered, controlled flight at the Red Planet was possible.

Illustration of NASA's OCO-3 mounted on the underside of the International Space Station.

Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3, or OCO-3, is a space instrument designed to investigate important questions about the distribution of carbon dioxide on Earth as it relates to growing urban populations and changing patterns of fossil fuel combustion.

A technician inspects NASA's ECOSTRESS instrument in a clean room at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. ECOSTRESS measures the temperature of plants, which shows how they are regulating their water use in response to heat stress.


The ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS), will monitor one of the most basic processes in living plants: the loss of water through the tiny pores in leaves.

Artist's rendering of the twin spacecraft of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission, scheduled to launch in May, 2018. GRACE-FO will track the evolution of Earth's water cycle by monitoring changes in the distribution of mass on Earth.


The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-on (GRACE-FO) measures changes in Earth’s gravity field in order to track water movement and surface mass changes across the planet.

Astronaut Christina Koch assists with a hardware upgrade for NASA's Cold Atom Lab aboard the International Space Station in January 2020.

Cold Atom Laboratory

A facility aboard the International Space Station, the Cold Atom Laboratory, will makes use of the space station's microgravity environment to study quantum phenomena in ways that aren’t possible on Earth.


The main objective of the CubeRRT mission is to demonstrate the RFI mitigation technology on a flight-ready hardware in space, increasing the technology readiness level (TRL) from 6 to 7.


The ISARA mission will demonstrate a high bandwidth Ka-band CubeSat communications capability that is ready for immediate infusion into commercial, government and military systems.

Artist's concept of the U.S./European Jason-3 spacecraft over the California coast.


Extending the timeline of ocean surface topography measurements begun by the Topex/Poseidon and Jason-1 and-2 satellites, Jason-3 will make highly detailed measurements of sea-level on Earth to gain insight into ocean circulation and climate change.

Disturbance Reduction System

The Disturbance Reduction System, or DRS, designed as part of the Space Technology 7 project, is an experimental system for measuring gravitational waves in space, which are thought to contain important data about the history of the universe.


AVIRIS-NG has been developed to provide continued access to high signal-to-noise ratio imaging spectroscopy measurements in the solar reflected spectral range.


A compact, lightweight, airborne Portable Remote Imaging SpectroMeter was developed to study natural and human-induced events, from tsunamis, to toxic blooms, and oil spills.


The GEO-CAPE ROIC In-Flight Performance Experiment (GRIFEX) is a 3U CubeSat that will perform engineering assessment of a JPL-developed all digital in-pixel high frame rate Read-Out Integrated Circuit (ROIC).

NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission will produce high-resolution global maps of soil moisture to track water availability around our planet and guide policy decisions.


Soil Moisture Active Passive, or SMAP, is an Earth satellite mission designed to measure and map Earth's soil moisture and freeze/thaw state to better understand terrestrial water, carbon and energy cycles.

Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2, or OCO-2, is an Earth satellite mission designed to study the sources and sinks of carbon dioxide globally and provide scientists with a better idea of how carbon is contributing to climate change.


M-Cubed/COVE-2 is the reflight of a 1U CubeSat developed by U. Michigan to image the Earth at mid-resolution, approximately 200m per pixel.

Airborne Snow Observatory

The Airborne Snow Observatory is an Earth-based mission designed to collect data on the snow melt flowing out of major water basins in the western United States.

Artist's concept of NuSTAR on orbit. NuSTAR has a 10-m (30') mast that deploys after launch to separate the optics modules (right) from the detectors in the focal plane (left).


The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, mission studies the universe in high energy X-rays to better understand the dynamics of black holes, exploding stars and the most extreme active galaxies.

Curiosity Rover

The Mars Science Laboratory mission's Curiosity rover landed in Mars' Gale Crater the evening of August 5, 2012, PDT. Curiosity's mission is to determine whether the Red Planet ever was habitable to microbial life.

This illustration depicts NASA's Juno spacecraft in orbit above Jupiter.


The Juno spacecraft, which entered orbit around Jupiter on July 4, 2016, is the first explorer to peer below the planet's dense clouds to answer questions about the gas giant itself and the origins of our solar system.

The Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer, or LBTI, is a ground-based instrument connecting two 8-meter class telescopes on Mount Graham in Arizona to form the largest single-mount telescope in the world.

Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer

The Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer, or LBTI, is a ground-based instrument connecting two 8-meter class telescopes on Mount Graham in Arizona to form the largest single-mount telescope in the world.

The entire sky as mapped by NASA's WISE at infrared wavelengths is shown here, with an artist's concept of the WISE satellite superimposed.

Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer

WISE launched in 2009, repeatedly mapping the entire sky in infrared light. Its catalog of three-quarters of a billion objects led to the discovery of the coolest and nearest brown dwarfs and of the most luminous galaxies in the Universe.

This artist's concept shows the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE spacecraft, in its orbit around Earth.


The NEOWISE mission uses a space telescope to hunt for asteroids and comets, including those that could pose a threat to Earth.

Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment

An instrument flying aboard NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, the Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment is designed to measure surface temperatures on the moon, providing key information for future lunar surface operations and exploration.

NASA flew an aircraft equipped with Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) flew above California fires on Sept. 3 and 10.

Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar

The Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar, or UAVSAR, is an imaging radar instrument that collects key measurements of Earth deformation.

This artist's concept shows NASA's CloudSat spacecraft and its Cloud Profiling Radar using microwave energy to observe cloud particles and determine the mass of water and ice within clouds.


Part of NASA's fleet of weather- and climate-tracking satellites, CloudSat uses advanced radar to examine the inner structure of clouds, helping researchers better understand how severe tropical cyclones as well as climate changes related to clouds occur.

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter passes above a portion of the planet called Nilosyrtis Mensae in this artist's concept illustration.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, or MRO, has studied the Red Planet's atmosphere and terrain from orbit since 2006 and also serves as a key data relay station for other Mars missions.

The Aura spacecraft is NASA's atmospheric chemistry mission that is monitoring the Earth's protective atmosphere.

Microwave Limb Sounder

Making up one piece of the most advanced and accurate atmospheric chemistry laboratory ever deployed in space, the Microwave Limb Sounder, or MLS, instrument flies aboard NASA's Aura Earth satellite with three other instruments.

Aqua Satellite Orbiting Earth (Artist's Concept)

Atmospheric Infrared Sounder

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder, or AIRS, instrument is a key tool for climate studies on greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide distribution, as well as weather forecasts.

Artist's concept of 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft.

Mars Odyssey

With more than 20 years in orbit and counting, the 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft has spent more time in orbit around the Red Planet, collecting data on Mars' climate and geology, than any other spacecraft in history.


Designed to capture high-resolution images of Earth, the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer, or ASTER, instrument is one of five instruments aboard NASA's Terra satellite.

Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer


The Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer, or MISR, instrument is one of five instruments aboard NASA's Terra satellite, which is collecting important data on the causes and effects of global climate change.

Space Very Long Baseline Interferometry

The Space Very Long Baseline Interferometry is a network of space- and Earth-based radio antennas that combine to create the equivalent of a telescope with a diameter more than two-and-a-half times the diameter of Earth.

A research plane carrying the AVIRIS-NG (Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer-Next Generation) instrument flies off the Central Coast of California near Point Conception and the Jack and Laura Dangermond Preserve on Feb. 24, 2022.

Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer

AVIRIS is the first full spectral range imaging spectrometer and dedicated to Earth Remote Measurement.

Voyager 1

Voyager 1 reached interstellar space in August 2012 and is the most distant human-made object in existence.

This artist's concept of the Voyager spacecraft with its antennapointing to Earth.

Voyager 2

The Voyager 2 spacecraft, which has been in operation since 1977 and is the only spacecraft to have ever visited Uranus and Neptune, has made its way to interstellar space, where its twin spacecraft, Voyager 1, has resided since August 2012.