Explorations in 2011

Find out about scheduled missions to our solar system neighbors this year.

February 14
Stardust few past Comet Tempel-1. It reexamined the damage inflicted by Deep Impact in 2005 and measured how the comet has changed since then.
March 18
Messenger entered orbit around Mercury. Over the following 12 months, it will map the entire surface from low altitudes.
May 19
Space shuttle Endeavour delivered Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2, a giant magnet designed to hunt for antimatter and dark matter and study cosmic rays, to the International Space Station.
July 16
The Dawn spacecraft entered orbit around the asteroid Vesta, one of the biggest of the solar system’s leftovers. Dawn will orbit Vesta for about a year, then leave orbit, cross the asteroid belt, and enter orbit around the largest asteroid, Ceres.
September 8
GRAIL (Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory) will launch toward the Moon from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
November 25
The launch window opens for Curiosity, the next Mars rover.


©2014 The University of Texas McDonald Observatory