Here is how NASA is planning to explore our solar system: The Agency has ambitious plans for the future. NASA wants to build bigger and better telescopes. The Agency also wants to continue exploring Mars, and it’s keeping an eye on Jupiter’s moons.
The Juno mission is going to reveal the first close-up images of Jupiter, on the 27th of August, during the spacecraft’s planet flyby. NASA wants to keep exploring the solar system, to answer basic questions like how humanity came to be, where we are going and whether we’re alone in space.
Even in our solar system, there are a lot of promising worlds and objects which remain uncharted, says NASA Director Jim Green. The future missions will focus on these distant and enigmatic worlds.
The James Webb Telescope, which is going to be launched in 2018, will be able to observe dimly lit objects across the universe, and also all neighboring planets and their moons. It will have an unparalleled degree of finesse, and it will be able to follow geologic activity.
One of Jupiter’s moons – Io, has an intense geological activity. This volcanically active world will also be looked at by the James Web Telescope for follow-up information. Another source of hope and questions is Europa – a mysterious moon, which may have a liquid ocean beneath the icy surface.
The veteran Hubble telescope, with its upgraded instruments, has photographed Jupiter’s auroras and found evidence of saltwater on Jupiter’s Ganymede. The Hubble mission has been extended for five more years, and NASA believes it will continue to amaze us.
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft is currently exploring Saturn, with its rings and moons. It has been doing that since 2004. In 2017, will be the final stage of Cassini’s long mission. It will dive 22 times between Saturn’s outer atmosphere and the ring of asteroids and moons. These plunges are going to be part of the Grand Finale, which will provide scientists with new insights and answers.
Titan is a major Saturn satellite. It has a rich atmosphere and surface chemistry. It will continue to be explored by the James Webb Telescope after the Cassini mission ends.
NASA’s Dawn mission is going to take a look at two large, intact asteroids inside our solar system. These are called Vesta and the dwarf planet Ceres.
Many other missions and discoveries will follow, in the years to come.
Image Source – Pixabay