DART spacecraft approaching its target asteroid Dimorphos, with LICIACube watching from right

SMART Nav: Giving Spacecraft the Power to Guide Themselves

NASA’s DART mission will be the first-ever to test a way to protect Earth from an asteroid strike. But to ensure DART hits its harmless test target, scientists and engineers at Johns Hopkins APL developed a guidance system unlike anything used on spacecraft before — a system that can direct a spacecraft entirely on its own without any human intervention.
Image of swirling gases at Jupiter's south pole

Johns Hopkins APL Scientists Help Solve the 40‑Year Mystery of Jupiter’s X-ray Aurora

APL scientists have helped solve a decades-old mystery as to how Jupiter produces a spectacular burst of X-rays every few minutes. Critical measurements of the local environment came from APL’s Jupiter Energetic particle Detector Instrument (JEDI) onboard NASA’s Jupiter-orbiting satellite Juno.
A man inspects the small capsule holding Transit-4A's plutonium power source

60 Years on, Nuclear Power Still Enables Pioneering Space Missions

Sixty years ago today, the U.S. launched its first nuclear-powered satellite, with a power source that has since enabled more than two dozen pioneering space missions. Here’s a look at four of those innovative missions, all led by Johns Hopkins APL.
Illustration of Ganymede and its auroras

Space Particle Instrument Prepped and Primed for Jovian Journey

After a decade in the making and numerous hurdles along the way, the Particle Environment Package (PEP)-Hi, made of two innovative instruments built by Johns Hopkins APL for the international JUICE mission to Jupiter, is complete and ready for installation on the spacecraft.
Parker Solar Probe approaching sun

Parker Solar Probe Team Earns National Space Club and Foundation Aerospace Award

For its efforts to untangle the long-standing mysteries of the complex solar environment, the Parker Solar Probe mission team has earned the National Space Club and Foundation’s Nelson P. Jackson Award, which recognizes the most outstanding contribution to aerospace in the preceding year.
Image of Earth with reflecting Sun from orbit

Johns Hopkins APL Space Sensor Package Passes Latest Flight Test

The recent flight of Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity marked another successful test for the JHU APL Integrated Universal Suborbital (JANUS) platform, a sensor designed to observe the conditions inside suborbital space vehicles.
Image of Venus

Solar Mission Reveals New Details About Venus’ Unusual Magnetic Field

A new study, led by Johns Hopkins APL researchers using data from Solar Orbiter’s first flyby of Venus, found the planet’s unusual magnetic field can still accelerate particles to millions of miles per hour — a finding valuable to understanding magnetospheres around planets outside our solar system.
Rendering of the New Horizons Spacecraft, orbiting an asteroid

New Horizons Reaches a Rare Space Milestone

Now 50 times as far from the Sun as Earth, history-making Pluto explorer New Horizons photographs Voyager 1's location from the Kuiper Belt.
Panoramic image from Parker Solar Probe of inner planets, Milky Way and Venus dust ring

Parker Solar Probe Captures First Complete View of Venus Orbital Dust Ring

The Johns Hopkins APL-operated Parker Solar Probe captured the first complete view of Venus’s dust ring, a band of particles that stretches for the entirety of the planet’s path around the Sun. The new observation opens a window to understanding how dust is captured and redistributed throughout the solar system.