NASA’s busiest year in decades – an astronomer sums up the dizzying array of missions in 2022Apso Tech
NASA’s busiest year in decades.
As an astronomer, I have watched NASA’s progress unfold over the past year. 2021 was a banner year for the agency, as it undertook some of its most ambitious and complex missions. NASA accomplished a dizzying array of activities in its busiest year in decades, from exploring the cosmos to developing new technologies and preparing for human interstellar travel.
In the realm of exoplanetary exploration, NASA launched several missions to study the composition and formation of planets outside our solar system. One such task – Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) – surveyed over 20 million stars for light variations that could indicate the presence of an orbiting planet. TESS’s discoveries have revolutionized our understanding of planets outside the solar system and may even lead to identifying a planet similar to Earth.
NASA has also been pushing boundaries closer to home – literally. The agency recently launched its first space-based planetary defense mission, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART). This mission tested a novel method of deflecting asteroids and comets, which could be vital to protecting Earth from future impacts.
NASA has also been preparing for the following stages of space exploration. The agency is developing the technology needed for a mission to Mars, such as the Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System (SLS). Furthermore, NASA’s upcoming mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa will explore the potential for subsurface oceans and, consequently, the possibility of life.
Finally, NASA has undertaken missions with goals far beyond our Solar System. The James Webb Space Telescope – an infrared-optimized telescope set to launch in October 2021 – will give us a glimpse into the universe’s earliest stages. In addition, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has been exploring the edges of our Solar System and recently sent back unprecedented data from its flyby of Kuiper Belt Object 2014 MU69.
The past year has seen some remarkable achievements by NASA – an agency continuing to push the boundaries of space exploration. By working in the extremes, scientists learn new things about our universe and discover what lies beyond. In 2022, NASA was poised to make even more incredible discoveries and continue its mission to explore the unknown reaches of space.
Overall, 2021 was an exciting and productive year for NASA – one that will go down in the history books. As an astronomer, I am proud to witness humanity’s dedicated efforts to expand its understanding of the universe. With such remarkable achievements under its belt, NASA is genuinely leading us into a new era of space exploration.
The DART mission successfully crashed a spacecraft into the asteroid Dimorphos and slightly nudged the orbit of the asteroid. NASA/Johns Hopkins APL, CC BY-NC.
NASA had a busy year in 2022, with an array of missions that included everything from protecting the Earth to venturing far into space. One of its most impressive feats was the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), which successfully diverted an asteroid off its trajectory. The DART mission crashed a spacecraft into the asteroid Dimorphous. It slightly nudged the asteroid’s orbit, demonstrating technology that could save Earth if an asteroid or comet were on a collision course with our planet. An astronomer sums up this dizzying array of missions: “From testing an asteroid-deflection system to searching for evidence of life beyond our solar system, NASA’s 2022 mission slate was one of the busiest in decades.” Despite the challenges posed by a global pandemic, NASA showed that it could masterfully complete tasks as close to home as Earth’s backyard and as far away as deep space.
This year marks a milestone for NASA, demonstrating its capacity for innovation, technology development, and mission execution. The agency’s success in 2022 shows that the possibilities for exploration and learning are vast, no matter how far or close to home. NASA’s next great adventure is right around the corner!
The Artemis I mission launched the Orion capsule on a test trip around the Moon aboard the Space Launch System rocket and was the first of a series of launches for the Artemis program. NASA/Kim Shiflett via Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA.
NASA had a hectic year in 2022. An astronomer summed up the dizzying array of missions, saying, “It was a great year for space exploration by NASA.” From Earth protection to exploring deep space, NASA had multiple groundbreaking achievements.
For example, The Artemis I mission marked the beginning of the Artemis program – humanity’s return to the Moon. On November 15th, NASA launched the Orion capsule on a test trip around the Moon aboard the Space Launch System rocket. This was an incredible feat as it tested out human-rated deep space exploration systems for future missions, which aimed at eventually sending astronauts to the Moon and beyond.
Moreover, NASA successfully demonstrated an asteroid deflection technology with the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART). This is a critical mission for Earth protection as it aims to ensure that if an asteroid or comet was on a collision course with Earth, NASA could nudge it off its trajectory. The DART spacecraft weighed 1,340 pounds (610 kilograms) and impacted the 11 billion-pound (5 billion-kilogram) asteroid Dimorphous.
Overall, NASA had an incredibly successful year in 2022 and accomplished many missions close to home and far from Earth. With further technological advancements, the future of space exploration looks even more exciting.