Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Space Exploration Calendar

For the moment Space is the new black due to the New Horizons trip to Pluto and the amazing images it is sending back to Earth over 3 billion miles away but being a fickle lot, the public's interest will soon wane and Space exploration will shift into the background.
What space needs to keep the public interested in it are those big sexy missions and a glimpse into the explorers calendar for the next few years shows that there are some things in the offing that could grip the nation once again.

2018 - David Bowie amongst others will be interested to find out if there's life on Mars and we may find out in three years time when the ExoMars Rover is due to land there. The rover is armed with a drill that is able to dig down to a depth of two metres into the Martian soil and the European Space Agency (ESA) just have to agree on which of the dried up river beds to place the ExoMars Rover.
Also in 2018 the ESA will be sending up a sun-observing satellite which will travel within 21 million miles from the suns surface, the closest to our Star we have ever been and it will send back pictures of unprecedented detail.
The Hubble Space telescope's replacement will also be launched as the James Webb telescope, which is larger and more sophisticated than its predecessor, will be able to provide greater detail of the thousands of exo-planets where the astronomers are hoping to find life.
2020 - The Rosetta Mission landed a spacecraft on a Comet but pencilled in for 2020 is the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) which plans to grab an asteroid, tow it along and place it in orbit about the moon. The mission is in the planning stages but if it can raise the funding required, we could have our own pet asteroid.
2022 - The ESA Jupiter icy moons explorer (Juice) mission is due to launch in 2022 and will concentrate on the Solar Systems largest moon, Jupiter's Ganymede. Potentially this is the most likely other place in our solar system for life due to it's sub glacial lakes and the spacecraft will be looking beneath the icy surfaces using radar imaging.

After many decades of wasted time, it appears that the space exploration may be picking up the pace once again.

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