from the first tourists in orbit to the Chinese landing on Mars-

It will be a year of record-breaking space adventures on 2021, with NASA and billionaires at the helm of new businesses pursued by the Chinese in an increasingly heated confrontation. Everything starts in the name of Mars when in February (9) a probe from the United Arab Emirates will enter orbit around the planet: they baptized it Hope, hope, to transmit confidence to young people in looking to the future of the country. The Chinese probe is also on the way Tianwen-1 than in April to drop a rover in the Utopia Planitia. So Beijing, after demonstrating its mastery of moon landings, will enter the Martian horizon for the first time.


On February 18, then, it will be the turn of Perseverance of NASA. Disembark in the Crater Lake, initiating the third phase of the pursuit of life after Spirit, Opportunity e Curiosity. The new sophisticated robot will look for fossilized traces of microorganisms in a place at the confluence of ancient rivers that flowed into a lake, deemed ideal for arduous discoveries. The first drone-helicopter will help in the investigation Ingenuity.


Another privileged objective of the year will be again there Luna. Two private American probes with instruments financed by NASA, will evaluate the resources of the soil useful for the future settlement or to be brought to Earth (such as helium-3 for fusion reactors). Astrobotic’s Peregrine will depart with the new Vulcan Centaur carrier arriving in the basaltic plain Apple Hewitt towards the North Pole and in the autumn it will be followed by Nova-C by Intuitive Machines which settles into the twisted area Vallis Schrteri.

And tourists

After so many promises, it will finally be the year of the start of tourist flights on the threshold of Space, a hundred kilometers high, to experience the thrill of a few minutes of weightlessness. The British billionaire Richard Branson, 70 years old, after having tried in the past without luck around the world in a balloon, will be on board the second paid flight of his SpaceShipTwo rocket plane taking off from New Mexico to the USA. Meanwhile, more than six hundred passengers who have already paid an advance on the $ 250,000 ticket are waiting. With the same intentions Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, is preparing similar operations. His New Shepard capsule with six passengers will fly from the spaceport in Texas and after the leap will return with thrill hanging from a parachute.

The asteroids

Other automatic NASA missions will instead pursue the coveted goal of the planets. Lucy will go to explore the seven Trojan asteroids in the orbit of Jupiter and Dart will join the couple Didymos and Dimorphos. A bullet will fire on the latter in the first attempt to deviate the trajectory of a small body that is risky for the Earth. Before the meeting the LiciaCube nanosatellite of the Italian ASI will detach. Built by Argotec with the collaboration of the Politecnico di Milano and the University of Bologna, it will verify the effects of the explosion.


Finally, if by December the NASA SLS super-rocket, the largest ever conceived, will be able to face the first Artemis-1 mission by testing the new Orion spaceship in a circumlunar flight, a cluster of eleven will be released from the last stage of the rocket. nanosatellites with different purposes. The only one chosen by NASA in Europe is the Italian ArgoMoon, also by Asi-Argotech, which will transmit images from the lunar orbit. In parallel, American and Japanese nanosatellites will search for ice at the South Pole. And these are only the most important stages of a 2021 that marks a grand relaunch of exploration between science and economics.

January 4, 2021 (change January 4, 2021 | 21:27)

© Time.News


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