Out of This World Explorations

Out+of+This+World+Explorations

Amelia Pollicino

From resurrecting American space travel to the exploration of Mars and the Sun, 2020 is still looking to be a promising year in space travel, missions, and exploration. Around the globe, companies in both the private and public domain are preparing to make revolutionary discoveries and embark on innovative missions.

In Apr. 2019, a prominent space success was the first picture of a black hole. Capturing attention globally, this was great news for the science community. This accomplishment can be credited to countless people, institutions, and observatories, along with years of dedicated work. Capturing this image was no simple task. It required a combination of data from eight different observatories around the world. This array formed the Event Horizon Telescope which ultimately captured the picture.

The success of the Event Horizon Telescope in 2019 may be considered a good omen for the new decade of space discovery. The European Space Agency and NASA collaborated on a project called the Solar Orbiter, which was launched on Feb. 10, 2020. It is designed to land very close to the sun for studying and discovery. The mission is set to last for seven years, and one could only anticipate the knowledge that will be discovered.

Junior Nida Ajmal commented, “The whole caliber of space exploration, as well as the money and dedication involved, make it impressive when they actually launch missions. I have so much respect for the people in that industry, as they are truly discovering something new. I am especially waiting for the summer, as a lot is set to take place.”

A greater exploration of Mars is another exciting goal of 2020. This summer, the Red Planet will come closer to the orbit of Earth, leading to four launchings scheduled in July. First, NASA’s anticipated Mars 2020 Rover is set to launch on Jul. 17. A few days following, Russia and the European Space Agency scheduled the launch of their rover, the Exomars Rosalind Franklin.

The United Arab Emirates will launch its first mission ever from Japan, called the Hope Mars Mission. Along with the excitement of going to Mars, this could be the Islamic world’s first step into space, making the Hope Mars Mission monumental. Following the theme, China also plans its Mars exploration launch for July, and in October 2019, the country teased a photo of the craft in its warehouse. These rovers will explore geography, climate, possible habitation, magnetic characteristics, atmosphere, and more on the Red Planet. The world should anticipate July of this year as it is set to be an exciting month.

2020 is planned to be a monumental year for private space companies. Although launch dates are not set, Space X’s Crew Dragon along with Boeing’s Starliner are set to launch to the International Space Station. The importance of these private companies is tremendous on the public domain of American space travel. Having not launched humans into space for nearly a decade, NASA has been relying on Russian rocket, The Soyuz, which has been regularly traveling to and from the ISS.

A major dilemma that NASA is facing is the increasing prices Russia sets for a single trip. In 2008, NASA paid 22 million dollars for one seat on The Soyuz. This price dramatically increased to around 85 million dollars today, as reported by CNN. The most recent and successful launch of a Space X craft took place on Jan. 6, 2020. Shortly after, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted, “This critical test puts us on the cusp of once again launching American astronauts on American rockets from American soil.” Private companies, especially Boeing and SpaceX, are important in the revitalization of American spaceflights, and watching the many successes of these companies is exciting as well as promising.

Junior Marianne Lombardo said, “It is always exciting to hear about space innovation in the news because it does not happen very often. And usually when new information or pictures are released, it is very different and out of the norm.” Junior Leo Finkelstein also shared his excitement: “I am really curious as to what will end up being discovered, especially on Mars.”

Ambitious, innovative, and compelling are some words that characterize this industry’s plans for the coming year. The many space ventures of 2020 are sure to yield out of this world results!