There has been tremendous progress in mankind's ability to explore space last year, and 2019 promises to be the same. From Kuiper's mysterious objects and Martian probes to historical rocket launches and courageous efforts to touch the Sun, here's the next 12 months.
The New Horizons will meet Ultima Thule
The year 2019 will start with a bang when NASA's New Horizons visit Ultima Thule, the mysterious Kuiper object, located 6.5 billion kilometers from the Sun. At. 00:33 EST time On January 1, the probe will approach the Ultima Thule at speeds of up to 50,694 km per hour (50,700 km per hour), taking as many photos as possible from 98 to 230 feet (30 to 70 meters) per pixel.
A historical close approach to Ultima Thule, also known as the 2014 MU69, will be the first flight of the Kuiper object. During the flight, we will find out whether Ultima Thule is a strict binary system, a contact binary system (in which they touch two elements) or something completely different. The object or objects are approximately 31 km in diameter (30 km) and are irregularly shaped. Using many onboard instruments, the New Horizons will also map the geology of the object's surface to find out how they originated, measure the surface temperature, search for traces of comet-like activity (eg Melting ice), and other mission objectives.
Wanderers wandering on the moon
The moon should receive at least a pair of new robots visiting in 2019.
It is anticipated that the landing site and Jeep Chang & # 39; e 4, which took off on December 8, 2018, are to reach the surface of the Moon on January 3, or even earlier. The landing site is the 177 km (180 km) Von Kármán crater, a lunar impact crater in the southern hemisphere. Because it will be on the other side of the Moon, the CE-4 will communicate with Earth via the Queqiao Chinese satellite that took off in May.
If successful, the mission will include the first soft landing and inspection of the far side of the Moon, according to the National Defense Office of Science and Technology in China. The lander and six-wheeled rover measure the surface temperature of the Moon, analyze lunar rocks and dust, and study cosmic rays, among others. The mission will also determine if the region is quiet enough from human technological activity to build a space radiotelescope. The mission should last at least three months.
At some point in the second half of 2019, India will launch its own rover on the Moon as part of the Space Research Organization's GSLV-F10 / Chandrayaan-2 mission. The hexagon moves around the landing site near the south pole of the Moon, observing the surface of the Moon and transmitting data back to Earth. Above him, the Chandrayaan-2 satellite will gather scientific information about the Moon's topography, minerals and the almost non-existent atmosphere of the Moon, while looking for traces of water ice.
Who knows, maybe the team taking part in Lunar XPrize will finally land on a rover on the moon, but we will believe it when we see it.
Hayabusa2 will collect samples from Ryugu asteroids
At some point in early 2019, hopefully at the end of January, Japanese Hayabusa2 will extract surface samples from a Ryugu asteroid. JAXA is still trying to find the perfect place for Hayabusa2 to do its job, because the flat areas of this cosmic rock are hard to come by.
In December 2019, the probe will take the last samples and start the journey back to Earth. If all goes well, it will mean that for the first time the probe extracted samples from the asteroid and returned them for analysis.
Commercial crew test flights – finally
The NASA deal with Russia ends in April, so it is necessary for the space agency to find a different way to deliver astronauts to astronauts. The private sector is in the matter, and 2019 promises to be a year in which the United States will finally reestablish access to the International Space Station – something that it has not been able to do since the space shuttle program.
On January 17, SpaceX, in collaboration with a commercial NASA crew program, uses a Falcon 9 rocket to launch an unpatched Crew Dragon probe to the ISS. If this test is successful, the manned mission may happen on June 18; The astronauts from NASA, Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken were used for this mission.
In March, the launch of the United Launch Atlas 5 rocket will launch the first line of the StarStander Ceing-100 – also without a chest – to the ISS. Another test involving the crew, with the participation of Boeing astronaut, Chris Ferguson and NASA astronauts Eric Boe & # 39; and Nicole Mann, can happen in August, according to NASA.
It is expected that the Blue Origin space company, Jeff Bezos, will carry out both manned and non-missionary operations in 2019. The New Shepard suborbital vehicle, and dates will remain to be determined.
Opportunity Rover, will not you call home?
The NASA Breaker was silent on June 10, when a global dust storm knocked the probe into hibernation mode, which she was unable to wake up from.
Mission controllers listened to the rover in a wide range of frequencies and frequencies using the Radio Science Network (DNS) receiver, but to no avail. NASA will continue to try "sweeping and beeping" in the coming weeks and months, but if Opportunity does not transmit the signal home, mission controllers can finally sadly announce a 15-year mission.
InSightful drilling on Mars
The message about Opportunities is sad, but at least Curiosity is still trembling. There is NASA's InSight to consider which landed on Mars at the end of November. The stationary probe should start drilling on the surface of Mars at the end of January or at the beginning of February.
InSight team members will complete the implementation of the seismometer in January and will monitor the quakes. During this time, the probe will use its robotic arm to set the heat probe. The goal of the mission is to deepen our knowledge about the formation of planets and the internal geology of Mars. For this purpose, InSight will use its instruments to measure seismic activity, temperature and air pressure.
Get ready for more and more picturesque pictures of Jupiter and the Sun, thanks to Juno's probe and Parker Solar Probe.
Juno NASA probe is planned for more perijoves in 2019 – perijove is the nearest orbital approach of the facility to the center of Jupiter. June 18 will take place on February 18, and April 19 – June 6. Juno has already provided extremely detailed shots of Jupiter's clouds, but the probe is getting closer and closer to the majestic gas giant.
Meanwhile Parker Solar Probe will continue its historical, but ultimately doomed mission of "touching the sun." Its second and third perihelciations – the points closest to the Sun during its orbit – are scheduled for April 4 and September 1. On December 26, Parker's probe will receive a second gravitational aid from Venus. These flights will result in important new data about the Sun, such as the nature of its crown and its ability to sunstorm.
Celebration of the 50th anniversary of the landing on the moon Apollo 11
July 16, 2019. The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing falls. Expect tons of media in the coming months.
Many events have been planned to commemorate this historical milestone, including Apollopalooza 2019 (ceremony at the Aviation and Space Museum in Rockies, Denver), the Celebration Apollo gala at the Space Center. Kennedy & # 39; ego and the Summer Moon festival in Wapakoneta, Ohio. In addition, the American mint will issue commemorative coins from the 50th anniversary of Apollo on 24th January, which look amazing.
Launch of the CHEOPS space telescope
The European Space Agency plans to launch the CHEOPS space telescope at some point in October or November. Being in orbit, this cosmic telescope hunts extrasolar planets, especially those in the Earth-Neptune range in terms of size.
CHEOPS will take off from the Soyuz rocket and settle in orbit about 700 km above the Earth. CHEOPS will use a proven and transit detection method by scanning stars for signs of the presence of exoplanets in front of them. Initially, CHEOPS was to start operations in 2015, so it has been around for a long time.
Heavenly eye candy
For you, observers of the sky, 2019 will contain interesting astronomical phenomena.
The total lunar eclipse on January 21 will be visible to observers in North America, South America, the Eastern Pacific Ocean, the western Atlantic Ocean and extreme parts of Europe and Africa. On July 2, a total solar eclipse will be visible to observers in the southern Pacific, central Chile and central Argentina.
Three full supermen will happen in 2019: January 21, February 19 and March 21. Supermans occur when the Moon is closest to the Earth, making it look a little larger and brighter than usual.
Jupiter will be in opposition or his closest approach to Earth, June 10, when it will look big and bright. Uranus will do the same on October 27.
November 11, we will see the rare transit of Mercury through the Sun. It does not happen very often and will not happen again until 2039. By using an approved solar filter for the telescope, amateur astronomers will be able to see the tiny black disk of Mercury moving against the background of the Sun. This transit will be visible to observers in eastern North America, Mexico, Central America, South America and parts of Europe, the Middle East and Africa.