2021 Space Missions

January 29, 2021

School calendars, check. Activity calendars, check. How about the space calendar? Well, look no further. Here are the top four exciting events in space that will keep us watching the skies all year long!

via NASA

1. An International Party: Well, not really. But three very different countries sure will be arriving at the same planet in the same month to explore! Mars will be hopping with activity in February when explorers from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), China, and the United States will all arrive within days of each other to explore the red planet. The mission from UAE will survey the atmosphere, the one from China will try to land on the surface, and the expedition from the United States will seek signs of extinct life.

2. A moon landing again: The United States will send a spacecraft to land on the moon for the first time since 1972! One of the missions will be with an unmanned spacecraft and the other one, called Artemis-I, will send a capsule with astronauts in November.

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope from Greenbelt, MD, USA, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

3. Launching a telescope: The successor to the Hubble telescope, called the James Webb Space Telescope, will happen this fall and the telescope will be sent a million miles from Earth.

By NASA / JHU APL – www.nasa.gov/feature/nasa-s-first-asteroid-deflection-mission-enters-next-design-phase, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=77830367

4. Asteroid business: Can we deflect an asteroid? We’ll find out with the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft that could launch in July. How will the spacecraft do this? By visiting a pair of asteroids moving around Earth and giving them a little nudge to see if they move their orbit!