Its Vikram lander crashed near the moon’s south pole in 2019. Renamed EPOXI, the spacecraft flew on to visit comet Hartley 2. Voyager 2 passed Neptune and its moon Triton in 1989. It communicates with Earth through the Queqiao relay satellite. Its tiny Minerva lander failed to reach the surface. Crushing atmosphere. Mars Express released the silent Beagle 2 lander, which was only located in 2015. New Horizons glimpsed the dwarf planet’s frozen heart during a flyby in 2015. The Rosalind Franklin rover was postponed to 2022. Spacecraft Orbiting the Sun. Chang’e 5-T1 passed the moon and sent a test capsule back to Earth. Super hot surface. Explorer 49 was the last American mission to the moon for two decades, until Clementine in 1994. Hayabusa sent dust from asteroid Itokawa back to Earth in 2010. Spirit rover became trapped in sand after roaming Mars for six years. Stardust flew past an asteroid, returned a sample from comet Wild 2 and took a second look at Tempel 1. Mariner 10 was first to reach Mercury, in 1974. LADEE studied moon dust and crashed on the far side. Chandra watches stars explode in bursts of X-rays. Only the Sun has more influence on our solar system. Kepler tallied planets until it shut down in 2018. Welcome to NASA's Eyes, a way for you to learn about your home planet, our solar system, the universe beyond and the spacecraft exploring them. Illustrations not to scale. Herschel peered at the stars in infrared. It zipped past Earth again in 2014. Viking 1 and Viking 2 dropped landers in 1976. Postal Service issued these Exploring the Solar System commemorative stamps on July 11, 2000 in Anaheim, CA. Chandrayaan-2 studies the lunar surface. Exploring The Universe Other Solar Systems Our Milky Way Galaxy is just one of billions of galaxies in the universe. NEAR Shoemaker flew by an asteroid before orbiting and landing on Eros. Pioneer 10 was first to reach Jupiter in 1973, followed by Pioneer 11 in 1974 and Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 in 1979. More Venera spacecraft followed in the 70s and early 80s. Probing the mysterious structures and origins of our universe. This sheet of five 1-dollar stamps, designed by Richard Sheaff of Scottsdale, AZ, are based on different images of the earth's sun and are the first pentagonal stamps ever issued by USPS. Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter studies and photographs the Martian surface. The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter sniffs for methane and released the doomed Schiaparelli lander. This image shows terrain near Mangala Valles. Galileo was first to orbit and crashed in 2003. Chang’e-4 was first to land softly on the moon’s far side, and released the Yutu-2 rover. Selene followed to study the evolution of the moon. Science Writer: Looking beyond to worlds around other stars. Observing the sun and its effects on Earth. Juno spins in constant sunlight to study Jupiter. The spacecraft was revived by techno-archaeologists in 2014. BepiColombo is looping inward to arrive in 2025. NASA’s exploration spans the universe. ACE studies particles from the sun and beyond. Site Manager: Within it, there are at least 100 billion stars, and on average, each star has at least one planet orbiting it. … It omits the. Ulysses was first to study the sun’s poles. The U.S. Vega 1 and Vega 2 dropped landers before moving on to Halley’s comet. Tianwen-1 launched July 23 to orbit, land and rove. Amanda Barnett Hayabusa2 shot a hole in asteroid Ryugu, touched its surface and grabbed a sample. Parker Solar Probe skims the edge of our star. Delving deep into our solar system. Planck and WMAP probed the cosmic microwave background. Our scientists and hardworking robots are exploring the wild frontiers of our solar system. TESS hunts for planets and orbits in resonance with the moon. Solar Orbiter launched in February to study the sun and its poles. The International Space Station presides over more than 2,600 smaller satellites in Earth orbit. Curiosity roves Gale Crater, an ancient Martian lake. Kristen Erickson Venus Express probed the Venusian atmosphere. Phillips Davis The only planet we know of inhabited entirely by robots. Chang’e-2 orbited and then left for the L2 Lagrangian point. Giotto, Suisei, Sakigake, Vega 1 and Vega 2 converged on Halley’s comet in 1986. Perseverance launched July 30 to roam a dry lake and release the Ingenuity helicopter. Luna 24 was the last of many successful Luna missions. Hiten counted dust and crashed in 1993. ISEE-3 was renamed International Cometary Explorer and was first to visit a comet, in 1985. Pioneer 11 was first to pass Saturn in 1979, followed by Voyager 1 in 1980 and Voyager 2 in 1981. The only planet we know of with life ... and lots of it. Magellan mapped the planet and plunged through its clouds. The comments section is closed. Explore in 3D—Eyes on the Solar System Eyes on the Solar System lets you explore the planets, their moons, asteroids, comets and the spacecraft exploring them from 1950 to 2050. NASA’s real-time science encyclopedia of deep space exploration. Mariner 9 was the first craft to orbit another planet. Bill Dunford, This site is maintained by the Planetary Science Communications team at. It omits the Apollo missions, most spacecraft launched before Pioneer 10 in 1972, many Soviet moon and Venus missions and some recent microsatellites. Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter maps the surface and spotted the Apollo landers. Enjoy the experiences below on your mobile device, or visit this page on Mac or PC for even more ways to explore. Rosetta passed asteroids, followed comet 67P/C-G and bounced and lost the Philae lander on its surface. LCROSS dove into the plume from a crashed Centaur rocket. Spitzer watched newborn planets and retired this year. Note: This graphic includes spacecraft currently operating beyond Earth orbit, as well as many crashed or inactive spacecraft from recent decades. King of the planets. Akatsuki studies slow-spinning Venus, and launched with the IKAROS solar sail. The two black spots are recent impact craters. Cassini took stunning images of Saturn and its moons, dropped the Huygens lander on Titan and finally dove inside the rings and vanished. New Horizons passed Ultima Thule — now named Arrokoth — in 2019, and will eventually leave the solar system. This means there are potentially thousands of planetary systems like our solar system … Social Media Lead: SOHO watches space weather and finds new comets. Genesis caught solar wind particles and crashed them back to Earth. Deep Space 1 passed asteroid Braille in 1999 and comet Borrelly in 2001. It returned a sample to Earth in 1976. LISA Pathfinder kept two weights in freefall, a test for sensing gravitational waves. To submit a letter to the editor for publication, write to, Note: This graphic includes spacecraft currently operating beyond Earth orbit, as well as many crashed or inactive spacecraft from recent decades. There are three general kinds of galaxies: elliptical, spiral and irregular. Director, NASA Planetary Science Division: