Mars to Moon 2021 space exploration is a bit busy

  World wave of technological innovation

  ◎Intern reporter Zhang Jiaxin

  Humans on Earth ushered in a new year. Just one month after the New Year in 2021, three unmanned probes will enter the orbit of Mars.

According to the latest report of the New York Times, the latest actions of these planet "explorers" who launched in July last year heralded that 2021 will be a year when space exploration, launch missions and astronomical events will be overwhelming.

  Party on Mars

  Last summer, the United Arab Emirates, China and the United States all launched unmanned probes to Mars, hoping to shorten the arrival time when Mars is closest to the Earth every two years.

These three spacecraft will join a busy "explorer club", whether in orbit or on the surface of a planet.

  The first to arrive will be the UAE "Hope" Mars probe, which is the first probe in the Arab world.

"Hope" will be dedicated to studying the atmosphere of Mars and sending valuable data back to Earth. It is expected to arrive on Mars on February 9.

  China's "Tianwen-1" will also enter Mars' orbit around February 10, and will land in May after orbiting Mars for a period of time.

The New York Times reported: “It is dangerous to land on Mars, the fourth planet in the solar system, intact. Last year, China’s'Chang'e 5'landed on the surface of the moon and returned to Earth with lunar soil; if This year's Tianwen-1 successfully landed on Mars, and China's world-renowned aerospace achievements will once again create history."

  Shortly after "Tianwen-1" entered the orbit of Mars, that is, on February 18, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) "Perseverance" probe will arrive and land on Mars.

If the landing is successful, the rover will search for evidence of life on Mars in the dry crater lake and riverbed.

"Perseverance" will also carry a small Mars helicopter named "Ingenuity". "Ingenuity" will conduct an independent experiment, which is the first powered flight on the surface of Mars.

This micro-UAV will be the first helicopter that mankind will fly on another planet.

  Lock the moon's surface

  Although China has landed its lander on the moon three times in the past seven years, NASA has not landed on the surface of the moon since the last Apollo mission in 1972.

With the United States' efforts in space, this situation may change in 2021.

  For the past ten years, NASA has been relying on private companies to build and operate spacecraft or manned spacecraft that can deliver cargo to the International Space Station.

Now, NASA is trying to use a plan similar to the "Commercial Lunar Payload Service" to perform missions to the moon.

Under this project, NASA has signed contracts with several private companies to manufacture unmanned lunar landers and deliver goods from NASA and other commercial partners to the surface of the moon.

  The first is the Astrobotic company of Pittsburgh, which plans to launch the Peregrine Falcon lander to the moon in June this year.

It may be followed by the Nova-C spacecraft, which landed in October, a robotic lunar lander manufactured by Houston Intuitive Machines.

  In addition, NASA is also looking at returning astronauts to the moon in the next ten years.

Its first step will be the unmanned test launch of the Space Launch System (SLS), a high-thrust launch vehicle developed for the US deep space exploration mission.

The rocket has faced multiple delays in its first launch missions and swelling costs, but NASA still plans to launch a launch mission called "Artemis-1" this year.

According to the mission plan, in November this year, the next-generation manned spacecraft "Orion" will fly around the moon after launch and then return to Earth.

  Into the depths of space

  As the successor of the Hubble Space Telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope has been delayed for many years due to technical problems and rising costs, as well as other issues such as the new crown epidemic.

NASA finally determined that in October this year, the Webb telescope will be launched into space.

In July this year, NASA will launch a double asteroid reorientation test spacecraft to test whether the spacecraft can deflect asteroids flying to the surface of the earth in the future.

Then in October this year, NASA plans to launch the Lucy probe, which will visit Jupiter's mysterious Troyan asteroid group.

  Orbital Discovery Tour

  In 2020, as SpaceX successfully put two astronauts into the space station, the company may put more astronauts into orbit in 2021, but not all of these astronauts work for NASA and other government space agencies.

Many companies are cooperating with SpaceX to send commercial Crew Dragon spacecraft into space.

Among them, Axiom Space Company may send its first batch of private tourists to the space station at the end of this year.

When NASA chose SpaceX to build transportation vehicles for its astronauts, it also hired Boeing to do the same.

In an unmanned flight test in December 2019, a series of errors almost caused the catastrophic loss of Boeing's interplanetary capsule.

In order to remedy this failed flight, Boeing will conduct a second test flight as early as March.

This year, there are other plans for human space journeys.

Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin may send paying customers to the edge of space for short trips.

China may also start launching components for the next-generation space station this year, so as to realize China's “wisp of red” presence in low-Earth orbit in the next few years.

  Spectacular appearance

  In July 2020, when Comet Xinzhi returned to the solar system and approached the sun, it formed a very obvious comet tail. Such a scene is surprising; in December, the close conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn is also fascinating.

This is an extremely vast universe, and many celestial wonders can be seen from a corner of our planet.

  At the time of the total lunar eclipse on May 26 this year, the moon was just near the perigee, the so-called "super moon."

People in Australia, the Pacific Islands and the western United States will see the best sights of this event, and other parts of the Americas and East Asia and South Asia will also see some events.

The entire territory of China cannot see the initial loss, but some provinces and cities can see the entire process behind.

  There will be an annular solar eclipse on June 10.

This unusual solar eclipse will cross the North Pole, and only people in a small part of Canada and Russia can see a complete annular eclipse.

In North Asia, Europe, and parts of the east coast of the United States, people will see a partial solar eclipse.