NASA Selects Mission Proposals to Study Stellar Explosions, Galaxies & Stars


Animation showing the formation of a supernova remnant.

Four mission proposals submitted to

Established in 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government that succeeded the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). It is responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. Its vision is “To discover and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity.” Its core values ​​are “Safety, integrity, teamwork, excellence, and inclusion.”

” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{” attribute=””>NASA’s Explorers Program have been selected for further study. The proposals include missions that would study exploding stars, distant clusters of galaxies, as well as nearby galaxies and stars.

Two Explorer Missions of Opportunity and two Astrophysics Medium Explorer missions have been selected to conduct mission concept studies. In 2024, after a detailed evaluation of these studies, NASA plans to select one Mission of Opportunity and one Medium Explorer to proceed with implementation. The selected missions will be targeted for launch in 2027 and 2028, respectively.

“NASA’s Explorers Program has a proud tradition of supporting innovative approaches to exceptional science, and these selections hold that same promise,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “From studying the evolution of galaxies to explosive, high-energy events, these proposals are inspiring in their scope and creativity to explore the unknown in our universe.”

Spiral Galaxy Mrk 1337

This image from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope features the spiral galaxy Mrk (Markarian) 1337, which is roughly 120 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Virgo. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, A. Riess et al.

NASA Explorer missions conduct focused scientific investigations and develop instruments that fill scientific gaps between the agency’s larger space science missions. The proposals were competitively selected based on the potential science value and feasibility of development plans.

Each of the two Medium Explorer teams selected at this stage will receive $3 million to conduct a nine-month mission concept study. Astrophysics Medium Explorer mission costs are capped at $300 million each, excluding the launch vehicle. The selected proposals are:

UltraViolet EXplorer (UVEX)

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