An illustration shows our solar system (not to scale). Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech
Among the missions selected for extension are InSight,
NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Sample Return Mission. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
OSIRIS-APEX (Principal Investor: Dr. Daniella DellaGiustina, University of Arizona): The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission is currently on its way back to Earth to deliver samples of the asteroid Bennu that it collected in 2020. Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx PI, will remain in place for the primary mission, while DellaGiustina begins her role as the newly named PI for OSIRIS-APophis EXplorer (OSIRIS-APEX). With a new name to reflect the extended mission’s new goals, the OSIRIS-APEX team will redirect the spacecraft to encounter Apophis, an asteroid roughly 1,200 feet (roughly 370 meters) in diameter that will come within 20,000 miles (32,000 kilometers) of Earth in 2029. OSIRIS-APEX will enter orbit around Apophis soon after the asteroid’s Earth flyby, providing an unprecedented close-up look at this S-type asteroid. It plans to study changes in the asteroid caused by its close flyby of Earth and use the spacecraft’s gas thrusters to attempt to dislodge and study the dust and small rocks on and below Apophis’ surface.
This illustration shows NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft and the limb of Mars. Credit: NASA / Goddard
MAVEN (Principal Investigator: Dr. Shannon Curry,
This illustration shows NASA’s Mars InSight lander on the Martian surface. Credit: NASA
InSight (Principal Investigator: Dr. Bruce Banerdt,
NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has been studying the moon since June 2009. Credit: NASA
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) (Project Scientist: Dr. Noah Petro, GSFC): LRO will continue to study the surface and geology of the Moon. The evolution of LRO’s orbit will allow it to study new regions away from the poles in unprecedented detail, including the Permanently Shadowed Regions (PSRs) near the poles where water ice may be found. LRO will also provide important programmatic support for NASA’s efforts to return to the Moon.
A selfie taken by NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover on Sol 2291 at the “Rock Hall” drill site, located on Vera Rubin Ridge. The selfie is composed of 57 individual images taken by the rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), a camera on the end of the rover’s robotic arm. Credit: NASA / Caltech-JPL / MSSS
Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) (Project Scientist: Dr. Ashwin Vasavada, JPL): The Mars Science Laboratory and its Curiosity rover have driven more than 16 miles (27 km) on the surface of Mars, exploring the history of habitability in Gale Crater. In its fourth extended mission, MSL will climb to higher elevations, exploring the critical sulfate-bearing layers that give unique insights into the history of water on Mars.
Artist conception of New Horizons Spacecraft. Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory / Southwest Research Institute
New Horizons (Principal Investigator: Dr. Alan Stern, SwRI): New Horizons flew past
NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft passes above Mars’ south pole in this artist’s concept illustration. The spacecraft has been orbiting Mars since October 24, 2001. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech