NASA Will Make Mystery Announcement About a New Mission to Our Solar System Today, Thursday: Watch Live

NASA is gearing up to make a big announcement about a new mission to somewhere in our solar system.

The space agency said it will hold a conference about a "major new science mission" on Thursday, June 27. It will begin at 4 p.m. EDT and be broadcast on various channels, including NASA's website and its Facebook and YouTube accounts. You can also watch live below.

Members of the public are invited to ask questions during the announcement. They can send questions over Twitter using the hashtag #askNASA, or by leaving comments in the relevant sections of Facebook, YouTube and Periscope.

Following the announcement, there will be another media teleconference to discuss the mission. This will be attended by the associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate Thomas Zurbuchen, director of the agency's Planetary Science Division Lori Glaze and Lead Program Scientist for New Frontiers Curt Niebur.

The conference will also be attended by a mystery guest—the principal investigator of the selected mission. The teleconference will be livestreamed here.

On July 1, NASA will also be hosting a Reddit AMA to discuss the mission further. This will begin at 3 p.m. EDT.

While details on the mission are currently limited, it will likely fall under the New Frontiers Program. This was formed in 2014 to consolidate the agency's different planetary missions. New Frontiers focuses on advancing our understanding of the solar system through exploration. Its current missions are Juno, which is the mission to Jupiter, New Horizons, which went to Pluto and beyond, and OSIRIS-REx—a bid to bring asteroid samples back to Earth.

There are several potential targets for exploration within our solar system that have been discussed in recent years.One is a probe to Saturn's icy moon Enceladus—where scientists think alien life could exist. Another is a mission to land on the surface of Mercury, which researchers called for in a white paper published October 2018.

One of the last major missions launched by NASA was the Parker Solar Probe—the first attempt to "touch the Sun" by sending a spacecraft through the solar atmosphere and come closer to the surface than any other spacecraft has before it.

President Donald Trump has been vocal about his interest in space exploration. In May it was announced the White House wanted an extra $1.6 billion to speed up the next manned mission to the Moon. Shortly after NASA announced that it will be sending astronauts to the Moon in 2024. Confusion then set in, however, as Trump said the mission was a waste of money.

"For all of the money we are spending, NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon - We did that 50 years ago," he wrote on Twitter. "They should be focused on the much bigger things we are doing, including Mars (of which the Moon is a part), Defense and Science!"

enceladus
Saturn's moon Enceladus is thought to have a liquid ocean beneath its icy shell that could host life. Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA, NASA
NASA Will Make Mystery Announcement About a New Mission to Our Solar System Today, Thursday: Watch Live | Tech & Science