Space exploration is set to enter a new era of discovery with numerous exciting missions planned to explore our solar system and beyond. The most ambitious Martian mission, known as the Mars Sample Return Mission, will collect and return samples from the Martian surface. The Europa Clipper Mission plans to search for signs of life on Europa, one of the largest moons of Jupiter. Meanwhile, the James Webb Space Telescope, set to launch in 2021, will observe the early formation of galaxies. Other missions include the exploration of Titan and the Kuiper Belt, and a project called Breakthrough Starshot is aiming to send tiny spacecraft to Alpha Centauri.
10 Most Exciting Missions Planned for Space Exploration
Space exploration has been pushing the boundaries of human knowledge for decades, and we are on the cusp of a new era of discovery as new missions are planned to explore the solar system and beyond. Here is a list of the 10 most exciting missions planned for space exploration.
1. Mars Sample Return Mission
The Mars Sample Return Mission is perhaps the most ambitious Martian mission ever planned. It involves the collection and return of samples from the Martian surface, which will be studied for signs of past or present life on the Red Planet. Plans for the mission are underway, and the first step will be to launch a rover to Mars, which will drill and collect samples that will be stored for later retrieval by a future mission.
2. Europa Clipper Mission
The Europa Clipper is a mission to explore Europa, one of the largest moons of Jupiter and one of the most promising places in the solar system to look for signs of life. The mission will investigate the moon’s icy surface, subsurface ocean, and geology, and will carry instruments to search for signs of habitability and possible life.
3. Lunar South Pole-Aitken Basin Sample Return Mission
The South Pole-Aitken Basin on the Moon is one of the largest and oldest impact craters in the solar system, and it is a prime location for studying the history of the Moon and the solar system. The Lunar South Pole-Aitken Basin Sample Return Mission aims to retrieve samples from the deepest and oldest part of the basin and study them for clues about the Moon’s formation and evolution.
4. James Webb Space Telescope
The James Webb Space Telescope is the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope and is set to be launched in 2021. The telescope is designed to observe some of the first galaxies that formed in the early universe, study the formation of stars and planets, and explore the atmospheres of exoplanets in search of signs of life.
5. New Horizons Kuiper Belt Extended Mission
The New Horizons spacecraft made history in 2015 when it flew past Pluto, and now it is on its way to explore the Kuiper Belt, a region of icy objects beyond Neptune’s orbit. The New Horizons Kuiper Belt Extended Mission will study one or more of these objects up close and shed light on the formation and evolution of the outer solar system.
6. Asteroid Redirect Mission
The Asteroid Redirect Mission involves sending a robotic spacecraft to collect a boulder from an asteroid and bring it back to lunar orbit, where it can be studied by astronauts during a future mission. In addition to advancing our understanding of the formation and evolution of the solar system, the mission will also test new technologies for crewed missions to Mars.
7. Gamma-Ray Burst Polarimeter
The Gamma-Ray Burst Polarimeter is a mission to study the most powerful and energetic explosions in the universe, called gamma-ray bursts. The mission will carry instruments to measure the polarization of the gamma-ray bursts, which can reveal clues about the nature of the explosions and the objects that produce them.
8. ExoMars Rover
The ExoMars Rover is a joint mission between the European Space Agency and Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, to search for signs of past or present life on Mars. The rover will be equipped with instruments to drill into the Martian surface and study the geology and chemistry of the planet.
Dragonfly is a mission to explore Titan, one of the most fascinating and enigmatic moons of Saturn. The mission will employ a quadcopter, which will fly from place to place on Titan, exploring its diverse environments and studying its potential for habitability and signs of life.
10. Breakthrough Starshot
Breakthrough Starshot is an ambitious project to send a fleet of tiny spacecraft to explore the nearby Alpha Centauri star system. The spacecraft will be propelled by a powerful laser beam from Earth, and will carry instruments to study the planets and search for signs of life around Alpha Centauri.
The future of space exploration is exciting and promising. With these missions and many others in the works, we are sure to unlock new and surprising discoveries about our solar system and the universe beyond.