Missions to Moon, Mars, Mercury & More Set for 2018

This artist’s concept shows the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft passing by Earth. (Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/University of Arizona)

Updated with SpaceX’s Red Tesla launch.

An international fleet of spacecraft will be launched in 2018 to explore the Moon, Mars, Mercury and the Sun. Two sample-return spacecraft will enter orbit around asteroids while a third spacecraft will be launched to search for asteroids that contain water that can be mined.

NASA will also launch its next exoplanet hunting spacecraft in March. And the space agency will ring in 2019 with the first ever flyby of a Kuiper Belt object.

And, oh yes, Elon Musk is launching his car in the direction of Mars.

A Look at NASA’s Plans to Explore the Moon

Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

Statement of Jason Crusan
Director, Advanced Exploration Systems Division
Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate
National Aeronautics and Space Administration

before the

Subcommittee on Space
Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
U. S. House of Representatives


Lunar CATALYST: Promoting Private Sector Robotic Exploration of the Moon

As part of the Agency’s overall strategy to conduct deep space exploration, NASA is also supporting the development of commercial lunar exploration. In 2014, NASA introduced an initiative called Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown (CATALYST). The purpose of the initiative is to encourage the development of U.S. private-sector robotic lunar landers capable of successfully delivering payloads to the lunar surface using U.S. commercial launch capabilities.


ISRO Update: GSLV Investigation, Chandrayaan-2 Downscope, Antrix Reform

A few updates on ISRO concerning rocket development and reforms of the space agency’s commercial arm, Antrix Corp., in the wake of two GSLV failures and a spectrum allocation scandal. It seems that the murky Indian space world will become just a bit clearer. And that delays in rocket development will force a down scoping and delay of the agency’s next lunar mission.


Rao: Chandrayaan-2 to Obtain Full Coverage of the Moon This Time

ISRO's Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter

The Times of India has an interesting Q&A interview with U.R. Rao, chairman of the Advisory Committee on Space Sciences that chose the instruments for ISRO’s Chandrayaan-2 orbiter and lander. He explains why the U.S. and Europe have been shut out of this mission and describes the failures by its predecessor, Chandrayaan-1, that require a follow-up mission.


ISRO Finalizes Instruments of Chandrayaan-2 Lunar Mission


Chandrayaan-2, India’s second mission to moon, is being targeted for launch during 2013. Chandrayaan-2 will have an orbiter (satellite), a lander and a rover. Chandrayaan-2 is planned to be launched on board Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. While the lander will be provided by Russia, the orbiter and the rover are being built by ISRO.