Developing the means to prevent an asteroid collision

To get ahead of this potential threat, APL is joining NASA and others to ensure we have the capabilities to defend Earth should the threat of an asteroid impact ever arise again. APL has a long history of studying asteroids. Our engineers and scientists built NASA’s first asteroid reconnaissance spacecraft, NEAR Shoemaker, which became the first mission to ever orbit and land on an asteroid.

Currently, APL leads NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), the agency’s first-of-its-kind planetary defense test mission. It will intentionally crash a spacecraft into an asteroid that isn’t on a collision course with Earth to demonstrate whether we can redirect an asteroid and prevent a cataclysmic collision.


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.