Solar System Explored: Today's Deep-Space Spacecraft (Gallery)

NASA's Wind Spacecraft


Artist's rendering of NASA's Wind probe, which launched in 1994 to investigate the solar wind.

NASA's Advanced Composition Explorer


An artist's concept of NASA's Advanced Composition Explorer spacecraft (ACE), which launched in 1997 to study space weather.

NASA and ESA's SOHO Spacecraft

NASA/ESA/Alex Lutkus

An artist's impression of the SOHO spacecraft (short for Solar and Heliospheric Observatory).

NASA's STEREO Spacecraft Observing Sun Storm


Artist's concept of the STEREO spacecraft observing a coronal mass ejection. When there's no CME to be found, STEREO still gathers images of the background stars.



An artist's conception shows NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft in orbit around Mercury.

Europe's Venus Express Probe


An artist's interpretation of the European Space Agency's Venus Express spacecraft orbiting the second planet in our solar system.

Japan's Akatsuki Venus Probe

Akihiro Ikeshita/JAXA

Japan's Venus Climate Orbiter "Akatsuki" was designed to study both the atmosphere and surface of Venus.

NASA Gives Two Probes New Orders: To the Moon


An artist's concept of NASA's twin ARTEMIS spacecraft, which moved from Earth orbit to lunar orbit in 2011.

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter


Artist’s rendition of NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter over the lunar surface.

The Spitzer Space Telescope


Artist's view of NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope against the infrared sky.

Herschel Telescope Sees Cold, Early Universe

ESA – D. Ducros, 2009

Artist impression of the infrared Herschel spacecraft, which is helping scientists better understand the universe's early days.

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Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.