Our Mission

IPAC at Caltech partners with NASA, NSF, JPL and the world-wide research community to advance exploration of our Universe.  Beginning with the IRAS mission in 1985 and spanning through Herschel & Spitzer in recent years, and Roman and Euclid, planned to launch later this decade, we have enabled transformative research of the infrared sky.  

Over our history of three decades, we have provided a range of support for more than 20 missions, helping each to bring forth major advances in astrophysics and cosmology.


We provide science operations, user support, data services, and scientific vision to maximize discovery with observatories both in space and on the ground. 

We seek to leverage our accumulated expertise to provide outstanding service for our current missions, and to optimally guide development of the next generation of observational facilities.   Through our historic pursuit to uncover the infrared Universe, we have gained special insight into all-sky surveys, observations of moving targets, time domain science, and data archive discovery.


We share these discoveries with the public through education outreach programs and award-winning media. 

We believe that public literacy and engagement in science is essential to its advancement, and the advancement of human civilization.  We exploit our integrated knowledge of science, communication, visualization, and education to capture the imagination of learners of all ages and backgrounds.


Our community of active researchers is dedicated and essential to fulfilling this mission.

The scientific expertise at IPAC combined with our technical knowledge of science operations and data science allow IPAC to drive scientific exploration and provide multifaceted support to the research community at-large.  IPAC scientific staff are engaged in forefront research spanning a broad range of fields in astrophysics and planetary sciences.  Areas of special focus include exoplanets; dark energy and cosmology; star formation and galaxy evolution; asteroids and the solar system; and the area in which IPAC has provided leadership for over three decades -- exploration of the infrared and sub-mm universe.