There are 6 space missions planned for launch in 2024 that are full of excitement.

There are 6 space missions planned for launch in 2024 that are full of excitement.

Ali M. Bramson is an assistant professor of Earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences at Purdue University.

successfully landing on the asteroid Bennu and collecting a sample for return to Earth

In 2023, NASA achieved a significant milestone in space exploration as its OSIRIS-REx mission successfully landed on the asteroid Bennu and retrieved a sample to be brought back to Earth.returning a sample1st spacecraft

The spacecraft from India is the first to come from an asteroid.Chandrayaan-3

In 2024, there will be a thrilling space exploration mission to the southern pole of the moon. This is just one of the many exciting events in the world of space exploration for the upcoming year.

NASA’s Artemis program and Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative have recently announced multiple upcoming missions to the moon.

In November, Artemis II and VIPER are scheduled to go to the Moon – as long as there are no unexpected complications.

As a planetary scientist, I am eagerly anticipating these six space missions that will take place in 2024.

1. Europa Clipper

Illustration showing the Europa Clipper, a spacecraft with two solar panels, flying by Europa with Jupiter in the background

This is a depiction of the Europa Clipper spacecraft as it travels past Europa, which is a satellite of Jupiter.


NASA will launch Europa Clipper, which will explore one of Jupiter’s largest moons, Europa. Europa is slightly smaller than Earth’s Moon, with a surface made of ice. Beneath its icy shell, Europa likely harbors a saltwater ocean, which scientists expect contains over twice as much water as all the oceans here on Earth combined.

Scientists are using Europa Clipper to explore the possibility of Europa’s ocean being a potential home for alien life forms.

The objective is to accomplish this by conducting approximately 50 flybys of Europa to examine the moon’s frozen surface, geological characteristics, and underwater ocean. The mission will also seek out active geysers erupting from Europa.

This mission has the potential to revolutionize the scientific understanding of ocean worlds, such as Europa.

The timeframe for the mission to launch and successfully reach its intended path begins on October 10, 2024 and lasts for 21 days. The spacecraft will be launched using a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket and is expected to reach the Jupiter system in the year 2030.

2. Artemis II launch

Artemis II astronauts

In September 2023, the astronauts of Artemis II were at the launchpad in Kennedy Space Center for a ground systems test.


first woman and the next man

NASA’s Artemis program, named after the Greek goddess and twin sister of Apollo, is their initiative to return to the moon. This mission will mark the first time humans have stepped on the moon since 1972, with the inclusion of the first female and next male astronauts.

The initial female and the initial individual of a non-white race.

Artemis also encompasses strategies for a sustained and extended presence in outer space, setting the stage for NASA’s eventual mission to send people even beyond Mars.

Artemis II marks the initial manned phase of this strategy, with a team of four astronauts slated to participate in the 10-day expedition.

The purpose expands on. Artemis I

In late 2022, a capsule without a crew was launched into orbit around the moon.

Artemis II’s mission is to orbit the moon and bring the astronauts back to Earth. The launch is scheduled for November 2024, but it may be delayed to 2025 if essential equipment, such as spacesuits and oxygen supplies, are not yet prepared.

The VIPER mission aims to locate water on the moon.

NASA plans to utilize VIPER, an acronym for Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, to investigate the moon’s south pole in late 2024. This rover is comparable in size to a golf cart.

The launch of the mission, originally planned for 2023, has been delayed by NASA in order to conduct additional tests on the lander system. This system was developed by Astrobotic, a private company, as a part of the Commercial Lunar Payload Services program.

This automated expedition aims to seek out volatile substances, such as water and carbon dioxide, that readily turn into gas at lunar temperatures. These substances could potentially serve as resources for future human ventures on the moon.

During its 100-day journey, the VIPER robot will use batteries, heat pipes, and radiators to navigate through a wide range of temperatures, from the intense heat of lunar daylight reaching up to 224 degrees Fahrenheit (107 degrees Celsius), to the freezing cold of the moon’s shadowed areas, which can plummet to -400 F (-240 C).

The launch and arrival of VIPER on the moon is planned for November 2024.

The missions of Lunar Trailblazer and PRIME-1 are focused on lunar exploration.

NASA has recently put funds into a group of budget-friendly missions known as SIMPLEx, short for Small, Innovative Missions for PLanetary Exploration. These missions cut expenses by hitching a ride on other launches as a rideshare or secondary payload.

An instance of this is the Lunar Trailblazer, which, like VIPER, will search for water on the moon.

However, while VIPER is set to touch down on the surface of the Moon and examine a particular region near the southern pole in depth, Lunar Trailblazer will revolve around the Moon, recording the surface temperature and charting the distribution of water molecules across the entire globe.

As of now, Lunar Trailblazer is expected to be prepared by the beginning of 2024.

Since it is a secondary payload, the launch of Lunar Trailblazer will be determined by the readiness of the primary payload. The ride for Lunar Trailblazer will be the PRIME-1 mission, which is set for a launch in mid-2024.

The PRIME-1 mission will excavate the surface of the moon, serving as a trial for the type of drill that will be utilized by VIPER. However, the specific launch date may be contingent upon the success and timeliness of previous launches.

A previous mission under the Commercial Lunar Payload Services, involving the same landing partner, has been postponed to February 2024 at the earliest. Any additional delays could also affect the schedules for PRIME-1 and Lunar Trailblazer.

5. JAXA’s Martian Moon eXploration mission

In the year 2024, there are planned visits to Earth’s moon by various visitors, including both large and small, robotic and manned missions. In addition to these visits, the moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos, will also be receiving a visitor. The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, known as JAXA, is currently in the process of developing a robotic mission called Martian Moon eXploration, or MMX, which is expected to launch in September 2024.

The primary goal of the mission is to investigate the source of Mars’ moons. There is uncertainty among scientists about whether Phobos and Deimos were once asteroids that Mars pulled into its orbit through gravity, or if they were created from existing debris already in orbit around Mars.

The space vehicle will orbit Mars for a duration of three years while carrying out scientific tasks to study Phobos and Deimos. Additionally, MMX will make a touchdown on the surface of Phobos to retrieve a sample before journeying back to Earth.

6. ESA’s Hera mission


A visual representation of the Hera mission, which aims to physically measure the effects of NASA’s DART mission in 2022.

European Space Agency

Hera is a mission by the European Space Agency to return to the Didymos-Dimorphos asteroid system that NASA’s DART mission visited in 2022.

However, DART did not simply make a visit to these asteroids. Instead, it deliberately crashed into one of them in order to experiment with a method of planetary defense known as “kinetic impact.” The impact of DART on Dimorphos was powerful enough to alter its orbit.

The method of kinetic impact involves colliding an object with another in order to change its trajectory. This strategy could be beneficial in the event that humanity discovers an object on a collision course with Earth and needs to divert it.

In October 2024, Hera is scheduled to launch and is expected to arrive at Didymos and Dimorphos in late 2026. Its mission will focus on researching the physical characteristics of these asteroids.

The Conversation

This piece has been reprinted from The Conversation with permission under a Creative Commons license.