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This year, people have looked at the universe in ways never before possible, and are leaping to unprecedented levels in unraveling the world’s mysteries.
We witnessed the first mission to the International Space Station funded at all by space travelers. A new web-based service has played a key role in the war in Ukraine. And there have been historic space developments and technologies by NASA and its international partners that could one day be used to land humans on Mars.
“There is no doubt that 2022 would be out of this world,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement. “2022 will go down in the history books as one of the most successful years for all NASA missions.”
Here are some of the most memorable space discoveries and moments from 2022.
After years of preparation, NASA got the final lunar exploration program off the ground with an unmanned test flight that carried astronaut-worthy space around the moon.
Mission Strang was full of important moments. The rocket that got the mission to earth, the Space Launch System or SLS, became the most powerful rocket ever to orbit – boasting 15% more thrust than the Saturn V rocket after the Apollo program.
When it got to space, the Orion capsule, which flew empty, except for a few test mannequins, took stunning pictures of the Earth and the Moon. And Orion’s orbital path swerves farther outside the side of the moon than any spacecraft designed to carry humans has traveled before.
The trial paves the way for future Artemis missions, with the goal of returning humans to the surface of the moon before paving the way for the first human space mission to Mars.
In partnership with international space agencies, NASA is making strides not only in the development of human exploration, but also in cutting-edge scientific studies. After a decade of waiting, the James Webb Space Telescope finally began observing the universe in July.
Since then, the world’s largest space observatory has turned its view of planets, stars and galaxies into infrared light, which is invisible to the human eye.
The telescope looked at unseen and previously hidden features of the world, including the last galaxies ever observed. Webb also shared new perspectives on some of the cosmic features of astronomy and captured them in a new light, as column of creation.
The telescope’s images have already passed what astronomers have been waiting for – and the best news: Webb has just begun.
But the Webb telescope was not the only space observatory to expand our understanding of deep space. The Hubble Space Telescope observed the most distant single star ever observed, a faintly glowing 28 billion light-years away. The star existed just 900 million years after the big bang created the universe, and its light took almost 13 billion years to reach Earth.
Astronomers nicknamed the Earendel star, derived from an Old English word meaning “morning light” or “eastern light.”
Meanwhile, astronomers used the Event Horizon Telescope to take the first image of a supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy. This first direct observation confirmed the presence of a black hole, known as Sagittarius A*, the beating heart of the Milky Way.
While black holes do not shine, the shadow of a cosmic object is surrounded by a bright ring, bending the light of the black hole’s gravity.
In late September, NASA successfully completed the first test mission for planetary defense. About space propulsion he pushed the ship into Dimorphos, a small asteroid, whose orbital space they call a larger rock called Didymos – and so; voluntary collision The Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, it was a clear demonstration of technical deflection.
Neither Dimorphos nor Dodymos poses a threat to Earth, but the system was the perfect target for testing a technology that might one day be used to protect the planet from an asteroid strike.
The rocket mission marked the first time that humanity had intentionally changed the motion of a celestial object in space. The lunar orbit of the asteroid changes every 32 minutes.
And this is not all 2022 offered when it came to unusual studies of things in the heavens. In June, NASA announced that it would delve into the mysteries surrounding unidentified aerial phenomena, commonly known as unidentified flying objects or UFOs. The space agency has chosen a team of experts from many disciplines — including astrobiology, data science, oceanography, genetics, design and planetary science — for the role.
Officials at NASA are not suggesting that aliens are responsible for such phenomena. The purpose is simply to address the seriously unexplored — but much publicly discussed — topic of UAPs and how they can be investigated through a scientific lens.
“Without access to a wide array of data, it is nearly impossible to identify or explain any observation, so the focus of the study is to inform NASA what data can be collected in the future to scientifically understand the nature of the UAP,” according to a NASA news release.
Meanwhile, on the red planet, the Land Rover’s mission has stopped due to excess dust on its solar panels (and no turbines to vacuum them), but the space station will make history in 2022. The Land Rover has detected the largest earthquake on Mars. and captured the sounds of space rocks on the planet—which were revealed to be treasure craters of subsurface ice.
With the prospect of the winds, Perseverance continued to lead the star pirates to the Martian skies, above and beyond their first mission of five flights. The genius helicopter broke its height record and 37 flights on the red planet by April 2021. The tiny chopper served as an aerial explorer of the Persistence, which collected the incredible diversity of Martian rock and sediment samples.
Now a pirate ship has set up samples that are to be stored on the surface of Mars. The samples will be permanently recovered and returned to Earth by 2033 through the ambitious Mars Sample Return Program, which will send a lander and two retrieval helicopters to the Red Planet this decade.
Speaking of space rocks, a rare specimen traveled to Earth in 2014. But scientists put their own puzzle together this year, and the discovery was announced in a US Space Command document.
The first signs of an interstellar meteor to collide with Earth – exposed off the northern coast of Papua New Guinea in January 2014.
Interstellar meteors are space rocks from outside our solar system, as “Oumuamua”, the first known interstellar object in our solar system, which was discovered in 2017, has been detected.
According to which believers NASA has seen many successes this year, but there have also been reminders of tragedy and disaster ahead. Investigators set out in March to search for suspected wreck sites in the Bermuda Triangle, a strip of the North Atlantic Ocean, said to be the site of a dozen wrecks and plane crashes, according to TV documents But the crew ran into something unexpected at another location off Florida’s east coast: a 20-foot-long (6-meter-long) piece of debris from the Space Shuttle shuttle that broke off. shortly after takeoff in 1986 it killed all seven crew members.
The wreck was first discovered when pieces of the shuttle washed ashore in 1996.
“This discovery gives us an opportunity to pause again, to lift the legacy of the seven astronauts we lost and to consider how this tragedy has changed us,” Nelson, NASA administrator, it is said in the announcement. “At NASA, safety is – and must always remain – our top priority, especially as our missions explore more of the world than ever before.”
When Russia launched its invasion in February and completely lost access to some areas of Ukraine, a space-based Internet system that barely existed a few years ago began to provide crucial connectivity.
Elon Musk designed and launched a space system called Starlink. It uses thousands of small satellites orbiting hundreds of miles above the Earth. Satellites eventually work to blanket the globe’s internet connectivity, and all you need to get online is an easy-to-use Starlink satellite dish.
Musk and SpaceX sent thousands of those dishes to Ukraine. Although funding controversy ensued later, the use of Starlink in the Eastern European region was hailed as a game changer in strategic communication for its military, allowing Ukraine to fight effectively as the war disrupted cell phone and internet networks.
But Starlink is just one small part of SpaceX’s big business. The company claims to not only move satellites but also astronauts into space for NASA. This year, SpaceX also flew a few wealthy explorers to the International Space Station on a mission broken out by Axiom. The event marked the first space station mission that is fully funded by paying customers and only private citizens.
He had a crew of four. Michael López-Alegría, a former NASA astronaut-turned-axiom, was the mission commander. And the three paying clients were Israeli businessman Eytan Stibbe, Canadian investor Mark Pathy and Ohio-based real estate magnate Larry Connor.
The mission, named AX-1, was launched on April 8 and was killed on its first 10-day journey. But the delay extended the mission for about a week.
China’s private missions to the space station are part of NASA’s plan for commercial activity in low Earth orbit as it turns its focus to deep space exploration.
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