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This year promises to be out of this world when it comes to space missions, launches, and the next steps in cosmic exploration.
In 2023, NASA will embark on a journey into a metallic world, spacecraft will land unprecedented samples of asteroids on Earth, a historic lunar mission will get its crew, and many new commercial rockets can be launched.
over there Much to look forward toAccording to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
More amazing finds from Webb TelescopeAnd the climate missions It will tell us more about how our Earth is changing, science continues on the International Space Station, and groundbreaking developments in aerospace with X-59 And the X-57 Experimental aircraft, and the choice of the first astronauts to go to the Moon in more than 50 years and more.
Meanwhile, the European Space Agency You will launch a mission to Jupiter and its moons, send a satellite to create a 3D map of the universe and start training the newest class of astronauts, Which includes an astronaut with a physical disability.
Here are some of the space titles you can expect to see this year.
last year , The opening task NASA’s Artemis program launched with a successful test flight that sent an uncrewed spacecraft on a historic trip around the moon. And although the program’s first crewed flight, the Artemis II mission, isn’t expected to take off until the spring of 2024, the public can soon learn the names of the lucky astronauts who will be on board.
The space agency has already narrowed down its astronaut crew to a domain 18 students Eligible for Artemis Crew designations. And last month, NASA officials said they would announce the Artemis 2 crew in early 2023 — so news could come any day now.
The Artemis II mission is expected to send four people on a trip around the Moon and back to Earth.
The next mission after that, Artemis III, will aim to land astronauts on the Moon for the first time since the Apollo program in the 20th century.
Although there may not be any manned Artemis flights to look forward to this year, NASA has plans to place robotic landers on the Moon as part of its efforts to continue to study the lunar terrain and radiation environment, and to search for resources that could be . Mined from the Moon and used for deeper exploration into space.
The program is called Commercial Lunar Payload Services, or CLPS, and it relies on partnerships with more than a dozen companies working specifically to develop their own lunar landers.
The first lander to fly under the program could be one built by Pennsylvania-based Astrobotic, which is slated to use the Peregrine moon lander to get 11 tools of science and exploration on the lunar surface in the first few months of 2023. It will land at Lacus Mortis, a larger crater on the near side of the moon.
Up to three more CLPS missions could launch in 2023, according to NASA website.
The highly anticipated Icy Moons Jupiter Explorer mission known as juiceIt is scheduled to be released between April 5 and 25.
The ESA mission, which launched from the European Spaceport in French Guiana, will spend three years exploring Jupiter and three of its icy moons – Ganymede, Callisto and Europa – in depth.
All three moons are believed to have oceans under their ice-covered crusts, and scientists want to explore if Ganymede’s ocean is habitable.
Once it reaches Jupiter in July 2031, the spacecraft and a group of 10 instruments will make 35 flybys of the gas giant and its moons. Some of the mission’s goals include investigating whether life exists in the Jupiter system, how the gas giant formed its moons and how Jupiter formed itself.
Boeing has been working for a decade to develop a spacecraft capable of carrying astronauts to and from the International Space Station, and it is expected that the year 2023 be general That this new space taxi is finally ready to go.
After years of delays and stalled development, the spacecraft, named Starliner, has completed a program Unmanned test mission to the International Space Station last May. Consider that a success. NASA officials have set their sights April 2023 For the first crew launch.
Starliner is expected to complement NASA’s plans to hand over the task of ferrying astronauts to the International Space Station to the private sector. SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule is already handling that mission, and the company aims to launch its seventh routine astronaut mission next month. When Starliner enters operations, SpaceX and Boeing are expected to split duties, hoping to keep as much staff on the International Space Station as possible before NASA retires the aging space station in the next decade.
Continuing one of the most prominent trends in spaceflight in the 2020s, some new commercial rocket companies are expected to launch entirely new launch vehicles that are entirely privately owned and operated.
SpaceX is expected to attempt the first orbital launch of its giant spacecraft. The company wants to one day use the vehicle to put the first humans on Mars, and NASA also hopes to rely on the vehicle in its Artemis program.
Two other powerful commercial rockets are also in the works: The Vulcan Centaur, developed by the United Launch Alliance, and New Glenn, a product of billionaire Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin. A Vulcan rocket is currently expected to take off Early 2023, while Newglin can begin its journey sometime after that. (Note, however, that the new rockets are notorious for schedule gaffes.)
Many new, smaller rockets, specifically designed to carry lightweight satellites into Earth’s orbit, can also enter. Two US-based startups — Relativity and ABL Space Systems — could kick off the year with their first launches expected from Florida and Alaska, respectively.
A raft of rocks and soil from the near-Earth asteroid Bennu will finally reach its destination this year when NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft drops it back to Earth.
The spacecraft, NASA’s first asteroid sample return mission, made history when it was Successfully collected sample from Bennu in October 2020.
Osiris Rex It will swing close to Earth on September 24 And dropping the sample, which contained 2.1 ounces of material from the surface of the Benno, at the Utah Test and Training Range. If the spacecraft is still healthy, it will then embark on a new expedition to study other asteroids.
The samples will reveal information about the formation and history of our solar system, as well as asteroids that may be on a final collision course with Earth.
After unexpected delaysthe first NASA spacecraft designed to study a metallic asteroid is scheduled for launch in October.
The Psyche mission will embark on a four-year journey to an unexplored potato-shaped world in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The mission will study a mineral-rich asteroid, also called Psyche, that only appears as a hazy haze on ground and space telescopes.
The unusual object could be a metallic core left over from a planet or a piece of primordial matter that never melted, according to NASA. Psyche could help astronomers learn more about the formation of our solar system. If Psyche really had a core, then studying it would be like peering into the core of a planet like Earth.
The mission missed its original launch window of 2022 due to delays in software and equipment testing. The mission team has increased their staff to finish pre-launch testing.
A variety of other missions are expected to launch in 2023. NASA’s Tropospheric Emissions Monitoring Mission for Pollution, or TEMPOwill measure pollution every hour over North America.
The agency will partner with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the European Space Agency XRISM missionor X-ray imaging and spectroscopy mission, to examine cosmic X-ray objects.
The European Space Agency and NASA will also collaborate Euclid’s task To explore dark energy, a mysterious and invisible form of energy driving the accelerating expansion of the universe.
The Stratospheric Astrophysical Telescope for high spectral resolution observations at sub-millimeter wavelengths, or Astros missionwill launch a balloon bigger than a football field from Antarctica to study why some galaxies stop forming stars.
He called the small satellite of NASA Moon Trailblazer It will use innovative tools to collect data on the amount of water on the moon.