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Space Missions in progress or in the planning:

In 1999, STARDUST was launched.  It will bring cometary material and
interstellar dust back to Earth in 2006, from comet WILD 2.
In 2001, SOFIA (the Space Observatory for infrared Astronomy)  will begin
to study planetary atmospheres, interstellar clouds, star formation, solar
systems in the process of forming, the origin of biogenic elements, comets
and galaxies.  It was constructed from a 747 airplane and will be the largest
airborne telescope in the world.
In 2001 also, SIRTF (space infrared telescope facility) will be launched
to study disks of planetary and proto-planetary debris and to carry out deep
surveys of the early universe.
In 2002, MUSES will be launched.  It is a joint effort by NASA and the
Japanese Space Agency ISAS.  It is destined to return a sample from the
asteroid NEREUS and will also carry N.A.S.A's MUSES-CN, the tiniest rover
ever used.  The rover will land on NEREUS
In 2003, DEEP SPACE 4/CHAMPOLLION  will be launched, to rendezvous with
comet TEMPEL 1 in 2005.  It will sample the comets necleus and return the
material in 2010.
In 2003 also, the international ROSETTA mission will be launched.  It is
expected to carry two landers (Champollion and Roland) to study the nucleus of
46 P/WIRTANEN, another comet in 2011 or 2012.
In 2004, it is expected that the KEPLER mission will begin its search for
habitable planets.  So far, the extra-solar planets we have detected have
been the size of Jupiter or larger in mass.  Kepler will face the challenge
of finding Earth class planets, 300 times less massive than Jupiter.
In 2007, the next Generation Space Telescope will be launched to study
galaxies, stars and the formation and evolution of planetary systems.
 In 2010, the Terrestrial Planet Finder is expected to begin operations,
looking for planets and atmospheres that are Earth like. 
To the Readers:  
 This information came from the GRIFFITH OBSERVER.  If you
are interested in such subjects, you can subscribe to the Griffith Observer
by contacting:

Griffith Observatory
 2800 E. Observatory rd. 
 Los Angeles, California 90027

   The magazine is a wealth of wonderful pictures and articles and I would
recommend it to any space enthusiast. 
Thank you.   
- L. James


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