NASA opened its doors 61 years ago, on October 1, 1958, and it has big ideas for its next decade. The space agency’s 10-year plan involves billions of dollars and spans millions of miles. And much like the universe, it’s only expanding.
On Monday, NASA administrators announced a new plan to launch a telescope into Earth’s orbit that will hunt for deadly asteroids.
In June, the agency introduced a mission that aims to fly a nuclear-powered helicopter over the surface of Titan, an icy moon of Saturn’s, to scan for alien life. NASA wants to look for life in the ocean below the icy surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa, too.
These plans follow an announcement NASA last year that described plans to send astronauts back to the moon and eventually build a base there, with a subsequent Mars-bound mission in the years after that.
Other future missions will try to photograph our entire cosmic history and map the dark matter and dark energy that govern our universe.
Here are some of NASA’s biggest and most ambitious plans for the coming decade.