NASA just extended 8 of its planetary science missions
. Here are some tidbits about the extended missions.
- OSIRIS-APEX – (launched September 2016) Originally dubbed OSIRIS-REx traveled to asteroid Bennu to collect samples. Its new mission will be to travel to asteroid Apophis to study the changes caused by a near Earth flyby as well as study the dust and small rocks from the asteroid.
- MAVEN – (launched November 2013) MAVEN has spent the last few years studying Mars’ upper atmosphere, the ionosphere and its interactions with the sun and solar wind in order to better understand the history of Mars’ environment. During its extended mission, Maven will study the interaction between Mars’ atmosphere and magnetic field during the solar maximum.
- InSight – (launched May 2018) InSight has been conducting a study of the crust, mantle, and core of Mars as well as tracking marsquakes. Its mission has been extended for as long as its dwindling power supply can sustain.
- Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) – (launched June 2009) Our nearest celestial neighbor, the Moon, still holds a lot of secrets. LRO has been busy uncovering some of those secrets by studying the Moon’s surface and its geology. Its extended mission will take it to study the Permanently Shadowed Regions of the Moon and more.
- Mars Science Laboratory (MLS) – (launched November 2011) MLS and its rover Curiosity has been satisfying our curiosity by studying the habitability of Gale Crater, Mars. This will be the fourth time the mission has been extended
- New Horizons – (launched January 2006) New Horizons has flown past Pluto. It has flown past Arrokoth, a Kuiper belt object. Now, in its extended mission, it shall fly even farther into the distant reaches of our solar system, as far as 63 AU
- Mars Odyssey – (launched April 2001) Mars Odyssey will be kept busy by monitoring Mars’ climate and radiation environment and performing thermal studies of ice and rocks below Mars’ surface.
- Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) – (launched August 2005) This will be MRO’s sixth extended mission. It will continue to study Mars’ surface for clues that will tell us whether or not water existed on the planet’s surface long enough for it to sustain life.
Red Canyon is proud to support five of these missions: OSIRIS-APEX, MAVEN, InSight, Mars Odyssey, and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter!
Want to learn more about these missions and how Red Canyon is involved? Check out the links below!
NASA Extends Exploration for 8 Planetary Science Missions
InSight – Studying the ‘Inner Space’ of Mars
New Horizons: The First Mission to the Pluto System and the Kuiper Belt