Space travel: Moon and Jupiter in focus

While Mars was the focus of space activities in 2021, many missions to the Moon will start this year. In addition, ESA is setting off for Jupiter. And NASA wants to divert an asteroid.

A handout picture made available by ESA/CNES/Arianespace shows the lift-off of Arianespace's Ariane 5 rocket carrying NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, in the Jupiter Center at the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, 25 December 2021.

With the “Artemis“ programme, the US space agency NASA wants to pick up where it left off with “Apollo“. The goals: to put men on the moon again and to create a basis for future Mars flights. In addition, various experiments are to be brought to the lunar surface. The spectrum ranges from photovoltaic studies on the moon to the measurement of volatile substances or neutron radiation to autonomous navigation. All this is intended to “pave the way for the first woman and the next man to reach the moon,“ according to NASA. Incidentally, NASA has awarded Nokia the contract for the construction of a mobile phone network on the moon, which the company plans to set up from the end of 2022.

New race to the moon

The race to the moon between the USA and Russia is repeating itself: the “Luna 25“ mission planned by Russia and the ESA is to be launched in July and land near the moon's south pole – the first Russian moon landing since 1976. But other countries are also involved in the race: South Korea is planning its first moon mission this year. And India and Japan are also planning missions.

But 2022 will also be an exciting year for the ESA: it is setting its sights on Jupiter and its moons and wants to finally launch its new launch vehicle. The mission will focus on exploring the Jupiter system.

Look up!

It is not only the large objects of the solar system that will be the focus of interest in 2022: a few weeks ago, NASA launched the DART mission, which is to hit the asteroid Dimorphos in October 2022. The plan is to let the probe crash into the asteroid and thus change its trajectory. It is hoped that this will provide insights into how the Earth could be protected from approaching asteroids.

Written by: sda

Photos: keystone

Read more