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SpaceX launch: this is all that happens in space in 2019



Jim Watson / AFP / Getty Images

In our solar system, on neighboring planets or near them, there are many dedicated robots who, in 2019, have to blow our heads with new things. We must also be ready to expand our horizons with new telescopes, which are bigger, worse and ready to see what no one has seen before. So, here's a look at everything that will happen in the next 12 months.

January

January will be a very busy month.

On January 1, the fearless New Horizons probe, which traveled for 13 years in Jupiter and Pluto, will fly past 2014 MU69, better known as Ultima Thule – one of the oldest objects in the Solar System and the most distant world that we have not yet reached. Only about 30 km in diameter, the Ultima Thule is part of the Kuiper belt — a ring of debris around the Sun, 4.5 billion miles from Earth, on the outskirts of our solar quarter. The ring remains from the formation of the planets of our solar system. It is believed that these objects remained virtually unchanged, since they condensed from the ice and dust of the outer solar nebula when our Sun was just a baby. New Horizons has just 24 hours to watch and analyze Ultima Thule with all of its tools. Astronomers hope to understand what it is made of and if it can even have an atmosphere.

“We want to see what forms of relief are present — such things as rifts, sublimation pits or spikes, and perhaps even gusts of wind from the wind. We also want to know if rings, moons exist, and finally, and most importantly, we want to know if Ultima is one object or two objects that revolve around each other, ”says Kirby Daniel Runyon, a planetary geomorphologist at John University Hopkins “We have never before explored the cold classic Kuiper belt object,” so we will have an idea of ​​the surface geology and composition of the world, which, in our opinion, has not changed much since it was formed more than 4.5 billion years ago. ”

Also in January, the recently landed Mars InSight probe is expected to begin drilling on Mars and install various tools on it. Its thermal probe will measure the heat in the inner part of the planet, and the seismometer will prepare for the detection of the marshakes. “The only other body for which we have seismic data is the Moon, and this is a direct result of the Apollo manned missions, where geophysical stations were deployed at each of the landing sites,” says Mark Vecherorek, a planetary scientist from Paris Diderot. The university and co-author of the Mars InSight mission.

“The Apollo network collected data until 1977, and as a result of seismic data, we know what the crust is, the size of the lunar core and the seismic activity of the moon, which correlates with the tides caused by the Earth. , We do not have other comparable data sets for any of the other terrestrial planets (except Earth). InSight in-situ geophysical data can fundamentally change our understanding of how Mars was formed, differentiated, and evolved over geologic time. ” InSight is expected to start sending data from March 2019.

On January 30, India will launch Chandrayaan-2 – its second lunar mission, which includes a landing gear and a rover and is aimed at a high plain between two craters, Manzinus C and Simpelius N, near the lunar south pole. This will be the first visit of mankind to one of the poles of the moon. By the way, the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter will also act as a repeater for another new lunar explorer, a Chinese rover, who has just arrived on the far side of the moon.

If you remember Google Lunar XPrize, in which several teams struggled to send a ship to the moon to win $ 30 million? Well, the competition was a big failure, and no mission has ever gotten off the ground. One of the teams, SpaceIL, plans to aim at the Moon in January, with its lunar spacecraft as an additional payload on the SpaceX Falcon 9, which separates from the Falcon 9 at an altitude of 60,000 km and enters an elliptical orbit of the Earth. before aiming for the moon. Crossed fingers

If you live in North and South America, you will have another lunar holiday – the total eclipse of the moon on January 20 and 21.

February

A few years ago, people acquired a new feeling – gravity – for the first time discovering gravitational waves from colliding black holes and neutron stars. Three observatories for gravitational waves, two devices in the American laser-interferometric gravitational-wave observatory (LIGO), and one in Italy called Virgo, will resume work after the upgrade, which lasts for many months. Their first observations gave another confirmation of the correctness of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity. As soon as the three detectors come back online, expect to hear news about the discovery of even more gravitational waves washing the Earth, which will give us a new understanding of a distant cataclysm in our entire universe billions of light-years away.

march

In March, the United States must again approach its own manned space flight, launching the capsule of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner, albeit unmanned, into orbit. The plan is to use the capsule to deliver astronauts to the International Space Station and back. Right now the only way to get there (and back) is on Russian Soyuz capsules.

Boeing capsules are part of the Nasa Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program. After almost 10 years, the program has not yet seen a single launch, although in 2019 there were several. Soon after the Boeing CST-100 may be followed by the launch of SpaceX Dragon V2.

The March test flight will be subjected to extremely careful study in order to meet NASA's stringent certification requirements before astronauts can reach the ISS. The CST-100 Starliner will be launched on an Atlas V rocket from space launch complex 41 at Air Force Station at Cape Canaveral.

June

In June, probably the SpaceX turn of Elon Musk came to prepare the ground for the American manned space flight. SpaceX is a bit of a mystery, because it is a private company, unlike Tesla, which has to be explained to the shareholders. But in June, the SpaceX workhorse, the Falcon 9 rocket, can lead its first people into space, provided that there will be no further delays. NASA astronauts Bob Benken and Doug Hurley are currently preparing to fly the Crew Dragon Demo-2 spacecraft – good luck.

July

Nasa will test the Orion spacecraft and the European service module as a unit, albeit on the ground, in its space environment complex. This “stack” will soon be launched into open space, which is important, because for the first time in history, NASA will use the system created in Europe – the European Space Agency (ESA) and Airbus Defense and Space – to power the American spacecraft. Orion is designed to once deliver astronauts to the moon and beyond.

On July 2, be prepared for a total solar eclipse if you find yourself in the South Pacific, in Chile and Argentina.

And on July 20 – the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, when the first two people came to the moon. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin left Earth on July 16, 1969 and landed the Eagle lunar module four days later at 20:17 UTC, and then passed across the Moon. Well, not all over, but they left a lot of traces. And the flag. In fact, NASA has already begun the celebrations, and they will continue until December 2022 to celebrate the entire Apollo Program. A dozen Americans landed on the moon between July 1969 and December 1972.

august

In August, Boeing will send people into space, conducting the first commercial flight tests with the crew. NASA astronauts Eric Bo and Nicole Aunapu Mann and Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson are scheduled for an explosion.

September

The Nasa OSIRIS-REx study (origin, spectral interpretation, resource identification, security, Regolith Explorer) on the near-Earth asteroid Bennu will continue to explore the asteroid with five different tools, which will last until the end of September. The ship arrived at a 500-meter-wide rock at the beginning of December after a two-year journey of two billion kilometers from Earth. He will stay there for another two and a half years, studying its composition, mapping the surface and choosing the best place to obtain a sample of regolith (topsoil). It is assumed that sampling will occur in mid-2020, when the probe falls to Benn and tries to collect about 60 g of regolith. OSIRIS-REx will return home in 2023.

October November

Somewhere between mid-October and mid-November, the European Space Agency is hoping to launch a new space telescope, characterizing the exoplanet satellite or CHEOPS. He will study the formation of planets outside our solar system, which revolve around bright stars; The mission is designed for three and a half years.

Note to astronomers: On November 11, Mercury will steadily move across the face of the Sun – and this transit will be visible, at least in part, from America, Europe and Africa. Get your telescopes and binoculars ready!

December

By the end of 2019, we will bid farewell to Spitzer, one of NASA's Great Observatories, the sister of the Hubble Space Telescope and the predecessor of the James Webb Space Telescope, which is currently under construction. Spitzer is an infrared space telescope that was launched in 2003. The great observatories are four space telescopes launched to study the Universe at different wavelengths. While Spitzer looks at space in the infrared range, Hubble studies it in visible and near ultraviolet radiation, Compton's gamma observatory in gamma rays, and Chandra’s X-ray observatory uses X-rays.

In more than 16 years of operation, Spitzer took a snapshot of some of the most distant galaxies in the universe and created one of the most detailed maps of the Milky Way. In subsequent years, Spitzer was redirected to the search for planets and played an important role in the discovery of the TRAPPIST-1 system, which is home to seven rocky planets the size of the Earth. Researchers believe that three of these planets can support life.

Spitzer will take part in mission completion activities and will be closed in January 2020. "If everything goes according to plan, the telescope, which should not have lasted more than five years, will be celebrated for more than 16 years in space," said Matthew Segal, head of the media relations news department at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Also in December, the Japanese Hayabusa-2 probe, currently on the Ryugu asteroid, will set a course for returning to Earth with a sample of asteroid rock on board. The vehicle reached the asteroid in June after a three and a half summer trip.

A year later, China hopes to send another ship to the moon, Chang & # 39; E-5. His probe on the far side, Chang’E-4, left Earth in December of this year and is currently on its way to the Moon. The goal of Chang & # 39; e 5 is to land in the Mons Rumker area in Oceanus Procellarum, and also to take and return a sample of lunar regolith weighing 2 kg.

This is not just a “new” new one that will surprise us. There are also many ongoing missions that continue to perform. Watch out …

Mars Curiosity Rover will continue to send data. At the beginning of the year, he will receive the last sample of the drill before traveling a long distance to an area rich in clay on the mountain. Acute, who will represent the next phase of his mission.

The Parker solar probe will continue to "kiss the sun."

The transit observation satellite Exoplanet (TESS) will find even more distant planets around relatively close, relatively bright stars.

Some progress will be made at Quieter Supersonic Flight – the creation of the X-59 test aircraft.

The cold atom laboratory became the first installation with a cold atom in orbit in 2018 (and the only installation with a cold atom that worked in space for more than a few minutes). In 2019, we must begin to see the results of scientific research at this facility, which offers physicists a unique environment for the study of some strange behavior of atoms.

Voyager 2 will send up-to-date interstellar space data, not least because its scientific plasma experiment is still working. (On the sister ship Voyager 1, this experiment failed.) Plasma is the material that fills the space between the stars in our galaxy — all this empty space is actually full of this material (and cosmic rays), and we are diving now, says Seagal .

As the mission progresses, by 2020 there will be many milestones on Mars 2020. This is another mission to Mars – this time the rover will now join all other robots that are currently on the Red Planet. The launch is scheduled for July or August 2020, and the rover will explore, among other things, the possibility of past life on Mars.

This year, NASA signed an agreement with nine commercial companies operating on lunar missions. All of them will now be bidding for the delivery of NASA to the lunar surface under contracts with the commercial services of the lunar payload – a step towards the study and study of the moon by a human, and possibly even Mars. “This will introduce a completely new way of doing business for the development of the planets and will open the era of the routine lunar access that the space community has been hoping for since Apollo first landed on the moon almost 50 years ago,” says John Thornton. CEO of Astrobotic, the company developing the lunar landing.

Finally, the Event Horizon telescope, a worldwide network of about 20 telescopes around the world, can finally display the true event horizon of a black hole — the border of a black hole that nothing can ever cross or go beyond, including light. The purpose of the virtual megatelescope is to display the largest black holes visible from Earth, and it is currently analyzing data obtained in 2017, their total 27 petabytes (!). “He will test the predictions of general relativity more than ever before and reveal the shape, size and properties of two black holes: Sgr A * at the center of our Milky Way and a supermassive black hole at the center of M87,” says astrophysicist Ethan Siegel.

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