Understanding the Stars and the Universe

Our scientists are exploring exoplanet science and nuclear astrophysics by leveraging key institutional capabilities, including technology developed for solar system exploration. APL has a dynamic program associated with studying exoplanet atmospheres and their interactions with their parent stars. Our researchers are developing new observational methods to better understand the nuclear processes that govern Type IA supernovas — the brightest stellar explosions in the cosmos — and leveraging our decades of experience in spaceflight to enable scientists to actively pursue the development of instruments and missions that will transform science, from multiwavelength exoplanet investigations to a gamma-ray telescope that will operate from around the Moon. APL is also building and managing NASA’s GUSTO balloon mission, which will provide the first comprehensive study of the interstellar medium, studying everything from the formation of stellar nurseries to the eventual destruction of stars.


APL has designed, built and operated more than 70 innovative spacecraft over its six decades of spaceflight experience. Click below to learn about some of the missions that made revolutionary discoveries, and spacecraft that will push the boundaries of exploration and investigate outstanding scientific mysteries.


Scientists and engineers at APL have designed, built and operated more than 300 novel space instruments and methods to conduct cutting-edge research and make groundbreaking discoveries. Click below to learn about some of these instruments and their role in shaping our understanding of space and the solar system.


Go inside APL’s space missions and research, and check out the latest news, features and discoveries from the teams that are probing mysteries from the Sun to the edge of the solar system and beyond.