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Latest Planetary Missions Program Office News

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…

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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,…

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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…

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NASA Selects Students for Europa Clipper Intern Program
4 min read

NASA has selected 40 undergraduate students for the first year of its Europa ICONS (Inspiring Clipper: Opportunities for Next-generation Scientists)…

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NASA’s Optical Comms Demo Transmits Data Over 140 Million Miles
6 min read

NASA’s Deep Space Optical Communications experiment also interfaced with the Psyche spacecraft’s communication system for the first time, transmitting engineering…

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NASA’s Juno Gives Aerial Views of Mountain, Lava Lake on Io
6 min read

Imagery from the solar-powered spacecraft provides close-ups of intriguing features on the hellish Jovian moon. Scientists on NASA’s Juno mission…

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NASA’s Dragonfly Rotorcraft Mission to Saturn’s Moon Titan Confirmed
3 min read

NASA has confirmed its Dragonfly rotorcraft mission to Saturn’s organic-rich moon Titan. The decision allows the mission to progress to…

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Media Get Close-Up of NASA’s Jupiter-Bound Europa Clipper
4 min read

Excitement is mounting as the largest spacecraft NASA has ever built for a planetary mission gets readied for an October…

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NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Earns Neil Armstrong Space Flight Achievement Award
3 min read

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security – Regolith Explorer) team received the American Astronomical Society’s Neil Armstrong…

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NASA’s Europa Clipper Survives and Thrives in ‘Outer Space’ on Earth
5 min read

A gantlet of tests prepared the spacecraft for its challenging trip to the Jupiter system, where it will explore the…

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NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Mission Awarded Collier Trophy
3 min read

NASA and the OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security – Regolith Explorer) mission team have won the National…

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NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Mission Awarded Robert Goddard Memorial Trophy
3 min read

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx team was selected as the winner of the National Space Club and Foundation’s 2024 Dr. Robert H. Goddard…

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NASA Study: Asteroid’s Orbit, Shape Changed After DART Impact
5 min read

After NASA’s historic Double Asteroid Redirection Test, a JPL-led study has shown that the shape of asteroid Dimorphos has changed…

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NASA Unveils Design for Message Heading to Jupiter’s Moon Europa
5 min read

When it launches in October, the agency’s Europa Clipper spacecraft will carry a richly layered dispatch that includes more than…

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More Planets than Stars: Kepler’s Legacy
4 min read

The Kepler mission enabled the discovery of thousands of exoplanets, revealing a deep truth about our place in the cosmos:…

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NASA’s Juno Mission Measures Oxygen Production at Europa
5 min read

The ice-covered Jovian moon generates 1,000 tons of oxygen every 24 hours – enough to keep a million humans breathing…

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Juan Pablo León
4 min read

Engineer, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Bio
NASA’s New Horizons Detects Dusty Hints of Extended Kuiper Belt
4 min read

New observations from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft hint that the Kuiper Belt – the vast, distant outer zone of our…

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For Your Processing Pleasure: The Sharpest Pictures of Jupiter’s Volcanic Moon Io in a Generation
2 min read

NASA’s Juno spacecraft just made the closest flybys of Jupiter’s moon Io that any spacecraft has carried out in more than 20…

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Poised for Science: NASA’s Europa Clipper Instruments Are All Aboard
6 min read

The science performed by the complex suite of instruments recently added to the spacecraft will reveal whether Jupiter’s moon Europa…

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Nicholas P. Lang, PhD

< Back to Program Officers List Nicholas (Nick) Lang is an IPA serving as a Discipline Scientist in the Planetary…

Bio
David J. Smith

< Back to Program Officers List David J. Smith is a scientist in the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters.…

Bio
NASA’s Juno to Get Close Look at Jupiter’s Volcanic Moon Io on Dec. 30
5 min read

The orbiter has performed 56 flybys of Jupiter and documented close encounters with three of the gas giant’s four largest…

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NASA Asteroid Sampling Mission Renamed OSIRIS-APEX for New Journey
5 min read

The former OSIRIS-REx spacecraft sets off on a journey to study asteroid Apophis and take advantage of the asteroid’s 2029…

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Kennedy Space Center Looks Ahead to a Busy Year in 2024
5 min read

Another jam-packed year is in store for NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida as the momentum of a busy 2023…

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NASA’s Tech Demo Streams First Video From Deep Space via Laser
5 min read

The video, featuring a cat named Taters, was sent back from nearly 19 million miles away by NASA’s laser communications…

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2023 in Review: Highlights from NASA in Silicon Valley
6 min read

It’s been another great year at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. Join us as we review some…

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NASA’s Psyche Delivers First Images and Other Data
5 min read

The mission team has celebrated several successes since its launch from Kennedy Space Center on Oct. 13. The latest is…

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NASA’s Dragonfly to Proceed with Final Mission Design Work
3 min read

NASA’s Dragonfly mission has been authorized to proceed with work on final mission design and fabrication – known as Phase…

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NASA’s Deep Space Optical Comm Demo Sends, Receives First Data
6 min read

DSOC, an experiment that could transform how spacecraft communicate, has achieved ‘first light,’ sending data via laser to and from…

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NASA Data Reveals Possible Reason Some Exoplanets Are Shrinking
6 min read

A new study could explain the ‘missing’ exoplanets between super-Earths and sub-Neptunes. Some exoplanets seem to be losing their atmospheres…

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Time Is Running Out to Add Your Name to NASA’s Europa Clipper
3 min read

Six weeks remain for you to add your name to a microchip that will ride aboard the spacecraft as it…

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NASA’s Juno Finds Jupiter’s Winds Penetrate in Cylindrical Layers
5 min read

The finding offers deeper insights into the long-debated internal structure of the gas giant. Gravity data collected by NASA’s Juno…

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NASA’s Lucy Surprises Again, Observes 1st-ever Contact Binary Orbiting Asteroid
4 min read

NASA’s Lucy Spacecraft took images of asteroid Dinkinesh, discovering that the asteroid has the first-ever contact binary pair orbiting the…

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DART Team Earns Smithsonian Michael Collins Trophy for Successful Planetary Defense Test Mission
3 min read

NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) will be honored with the 2024 Michael Collins Trophy for Current Achievement. For its…

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Scorching, Seven-Planet System Revealed by New Kepler Exoplanet List
3 min read

A system of seven sweltering planets has been revealed by continued study of data from NASA’s retired Kepler space telescope:…

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Salts and Organics Observed on Ganymede’s Surface by NASA’s Juno
4 min read

Data collected by NASA’s Juno mission indicates a briny past may be bubbling to the surface on Jupiter’s largest moon.…

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Data From NASA’s WISE Used to Preview Lucy Mission’s Asteroid Dinkinesh
4 min read

Researchers have utilized infrared survey data to refine the asteroid’s size and surface brightness in support of the Nov. 1…

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NASA Technologies Receive Multiple Nods in TIME Inventions of 2023
4 min read

As NASA explores, innovates, and inspires through its work, agency inventions aimed at monitoring atmospheric pollution, studying samples from asteroids,…

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How NASA Is Protecting Europa Clipper From Space Radiation
5 min read

To explore the mysterious ice-encrusted moon Europa, the mission will need to endure bombardment by radiation and high-energy particles surrounding…

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Why NASA’s Roman Mission Will Study Milky Way’s Flickering Lights
6 min read

NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope will provide one of the deepest-ever views into the heart of our Milky Way…

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NASA’s Dragonfly Tunnel Visions
5 min read

Dragonfly Team Utilizes Unique NASA Facilities to Shape Its Innovative Titan-bound Rotorcraft  With its dense atmosphere and low gravity, Saturn’s…

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NASA’s Lucy Spacecraft Preparing for its First Asteroid Flyby
5 min read

NASA’s Lucy spacecraft is preparing for its first close-up look at an asteroid. On Nov. 1, it will fly by…

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NASA Employees Win Top Federal Award for Asteroid Deflection Mission
4 min read

NASA’s Brian Key and Scott Bellamy accepted the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal on behalf of a mission…

News Release
Mercury’s Strange Hollows
6 min read

Enigmatic depressions on the surface have puzzled scientists since the 1970s For decades, scientists have been puzzling over strange hollows…

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Double Asteroid Redirection Test Post-Impact Image Gallery
1 min read

After 10 months flying in space, NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) – the world’s first planetary defense technology demonstration…

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NASA’s Lucy Spacecraft Continues Approach to Asteroid Dinkinesh
2 min read

Since NASA’s Lucy spacecraft first imaged the asteroid Dinkinesh on Sept. 3, 2023, Lucy has traveled over 33 million miles…

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NASA’s Psyche Spacecraft, Optical Comms Demo En Route to Asteroid
6 min read

NASA’s Psyche spacecraft is on its voyage to an asteroid of the same name, a metal-rich world that could tell…

News Release
Journey to a Metal-Rich World: NASA’s Psyche Is Ready to Launch
5 min read

Editor’s note: This story was updated on Oct. 12, 2023, with a new target launch date. The spacecraft is targeting an Oct.…

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NASA’s Bennu Asteroid Sample Contains Carbon, Water
5 min read

Initial studies of the 4.5-billion-year-old asteroid Bennu sample collected in space and brought to Earth by NASA show evidence of…

News Release