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Planetary Missions Program Office

Unlocking the Mysteries of the Solar System

Planetary Missions Programs

NASA is helping humanity answer profound questions about the nature of the solar system and our place in it. How did the solar system form and evolve? What are the hazards to Earth? Is there life out there? These are the questions we seek to answer, as we work to expand the frontiers of knowledge and opportunity in space.

This artist's-concept illustration depicts the spacecraft of NASA's Psyche mission near the mission's target, the metal asteroid Psyche.

Discovery Program

Established in 1992, this program includes a series of small planetary missions, launching every 36 months, selected and funded by NASA through open, peer-reviewed competition.

Illustration of NASA’s Dragonfly rotorcraft-lander approaching a site on Saturn’s exotic moon, Titan.

New Frontiers Program

Established in 2003, this program is a series of mid-size planetary missions, launching every 60 months. New Frontiers missions take on high-priority goals established by the planetary science community.

This artist's rendering shows NASA's Europa mission spacecraft

Solar System Exploration Program

From small, focused investigations to large, strategic missions of national importance, this program includes our "flagship" missions to answer the most compelling and challenging questions about our solar system.

The Moon, with Earth's shadow draping across it during a lunar eclipse, is pictured from the International Space Station.

Lunar Instruments and Payloads

In preparation for sending humans to Mars for the first time, NASA’s Artemis program will send astronauts back to the Moon by 2024.  Twelve new science and technology payloads have been selected as part of this program that will help us study the lunar surface.

Latest Planetary Missions Programs News

Stay up-to-date with the latest news from NASA's Planetary Missions Programs.

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Etched into Collier Trophy, Aerospace History
3 min read

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission has been immortalized at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington as the latest awardee…

Image Article
NASA’s Europa Clipper Unpacks in Florida
2 min read

Crews rotated to vertical then lifted NASA’s Europa Clipper spacecraft from its protective shipping container after it arrived at the…

Image Article
NASA to Measure Moonquakes With Help From InSight Mars Mission
6 min read

The technology behind the two seismometers that make up NASA’s Farside Seismic Suite was used to detect more than a…

Article
NASA’s OSIRIS-APEX Unscathed After Searing Pass of Sun
4 min read

Mission engineers were confident NASA’s OSIRIS-APEX (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification – Apophis Explorer) spacecraft could weather its closest ever…

Article
NASA’s Psyche Fires Up Its Sci-Fi-Worthy Thrusters
4 min read

The spacecraft already is beyond the distance of Mars and is using ion propulsion to accelerate toward a metal-rich asteroid,…

Article
NASA’s Juno Provides High-Definition Views of Europa’s Icy Shell
5 min read

Imagery from the solar-powered spacecraft shows some intriguing features on the ice-encased Jovian moon. Images from the JunoCam visible-light camera…

Article

How did our solar system form and evolve? What are the hazards? Is there life beyond Earth? NASA is exploring our solar system and beyond to answer these age-old questions. We’re launching spacecraft to asteroids, moons and planets beyond Earth. We’re using science to unlock their secrets. And we’re sharing what we learn, freely and openly, for the good of life on Earth. NASA’s Planetary Missions Program brings together three series of robotic exploration missions — Discovery, New Frontiers and Solar System Exploration. The program is part of the agency’s Science Mission Directorate. Find us on Facebook at NASA Planetary Missions Program.

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Illustration of all the planets with the moonscape in the foreground.
Illustration of all the planets with the moonscape in the foreground.
NASA

Planetary Missions Interactive

Right now, NASA spacecraft are exploring the furthest reaches of our solar system to answer age-old questions about life, the universe, and Earth. Join the mission! Try this interactive experience in your browser to learn more:

Learn More about Planetary Missions Interactive
Planetary Missions Interactive graphic.
Planetary Missions Interactive graphic.
NASA