It’s no surprise that 2018 marked a uniquely productive year in space exploration thanks to some groundbreaking projects that were successfully executed by NASA. Between the launch of SpaceX, the recording of sound on Mars and other tremendous milestones, many are wondering how NASA can top last year's impressive lineup of events.
As it turns out, 2019 may be one of the most groundbreaking years of space discovery yet. With a full calendar, NASA is prepared to provide us with even more insight into space with a number of unprecedented missions.
New Horizon Probe Flying Past Ultima Thule
While we're only a few days into the new year, NASA didn't waste any time getting to work. NASA broke a record this week by flying the New Horizon probe past Ultima Thule. Billions of miles away from our planet, Ultima Thule is the farthest object in space that man has ever attempted to reach. It's estimated to be no larger than an average city, being approximately 20 miles long by 12 miles wide. It's also characterized as an icy mass.
The Launching of SpaceX's Dragon Crew
SpaceX was launched by Elon Musk in order to make space travel more affordable. More affordable space travel means that NASA can execute more missions per year without exceeding their annual budget.
The launch of the Dragon Crew spaceship in January will be a new milestone in space travel. The goal of the spaceship is to carry astronauts to and from the International Space Station.
During this mission, the spaceship will go to and from the station. However, there will be no astronauts present during this particular mission as the mission's goal is to demonstrate the safety of this spaceship.
Measuring the Temperature of Mars
As we all remember, 2018 was a big year for Mars. In February, NASA intends to measure the temperature of Mars by sending the Insight lander to the planet in order to drill into the surface. They plan to drill about five meters deep into the planet's ground in order to accurately measure the temperature. This will provide crucial information regarding the unique characteristics of Mars.
Anniversary of the Moon Landing
Back in 1969, NASA sent the first man to the moon. Fifty years later, our understanding of space has evolved dramatically. It is expected that NASA will find a way to celebrate this milestone in order to honor this groundbreaking mission while demonstrating how far we've come in such a short period of time. Of course, this milestone also marks the anniversary of NASA itself.
Juno Spacecraft Observes Jupiter
NASA is planning to send the Juno spacecraft out frequently in an attempt to record information about Jupiter. As of now, little is known about the unique characteristics of this massive planet. NASA hopes to send the Juno past Jupiter seven times this year in order to record as much information as possible.
More Sun Observation
NASA hopes to send the Parker Solar Probe out to observe the sun during the first week of April. They also intend to repeat this mission a couple of times before the year is over.
Get Ready for 2019!
If you're a space enthusiast, 2019 is going to be quite the exciting year for you. NASA has some truly spectacular events lined up that will help us get a deeper understanding of space.