Hubble Space Telescope

Goals: The Hubble Space Telescope was designed to provide clear and deep views of distant galaxies and stars and most of the planets in our solar system. Hubble’s domain extends from the ultraviolet, through the visible, and to the near-infrared. Accomplishments: Lasting far beyond its planned lifetime, Hubble has had…

Cassini

Goals: Cassini was designed to explore the Saturnian system from orbit: the planet and its atmosphere, rings and magnetosphere, and its moons, particularly Titan and the icy satellites. Cassini also carried Europe’s Huygens probe to its rendezvous with Titan. Accomplishments: After successfully completing the first in-depth, up-close study of Saturn…

Spitzer Space Telescope

Goals: The Spitzer Space Telescope is an orbiting observatory that uses infrared technology to study celestial objects that are either too cool, too dust-enshrouded or too far away to be seen otherwise. After depleting its instrument coolant as planned during its 5 1/2-year primary mission, Spitzer was recalibrated to continue…

Rosetta

Goals: The European Space Agency’s Rosetta is the first mission designed to orbit and land on a comet. It consists of an orbiter and a lander — called Philae. The two spacecraft carry 20 science instruments to make a detailed study of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko for two years as it approaches…

MESSENGER

Goals: MESSENGER was designed to map the surface composition, study the magnetic field and interior structure of our solar system’s smallest and innermost planet — Mercury. It carries eight instruments to study Mercury’s polar deposits, core and magnetic dynamo, crust and mantle, magnetosphere, crustal composition, geologic evolution and exosphere. Accomplishments:…