The missions still exploring our solar system

Do you miss seeing all those amazing new images of Saturn?

It’s because Cassini is gone.

Cassini/NASA/Getty Images

The Cassini mission to explore Saturn and its moons ended September 15, concluding a 13-year stream of awe-inspiring photos and observations that changed the way scientists look at the gas giant.

NASA/Getty Images

It may be our solar system, but astronomers say there is still so much we don’t know about our home within the Milky Way galaxy. Plenty of other spacecraft are out there exploring.

Just look at the New Horizons mission preparing for a New Year’s Day 2019 flyby of Kuiper Belt object MU69, the most distant object any spacecraft has explored.

Bruce Weaver/AFP/Getty Images

The spacecraft performed an eye-opening flyby of the ice dwarf Pluto and its moon Charon in July 2015. Although Pluto was discovered in 1930, astronomers had very little information about the surface appearance or even its exact size.

NASA/APL/SwRI via Getty Images

The Juno mission at Jupiter captured an incredible image during its eighth flyby of Jupiter since arriving on July 4, 2016.


On Mars, the two rovers, Curiosity and Opportunity, continue exploring the Red Planet, sending back photos of the surface and searching for signs of past life.

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Curiosity celebrated its five-year anniversary since landing in August.

Opportunity landed on Mars in 2004 and has outlived its original plan for a 90-day mission.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS via Getty Images


Future Mars missions include a rover that will be able to “hear” the Red Planet, launching in 2020.

Launching in the 2020s, the Europa Clipper mission will explore Jupiter’s icy moon, which may be the best bet for finding life beyond Earth.