Ever since 1958, when the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was established, the space industry took off. Now that we have more technology and research, we can predict events months and years ahead. From meteor showers and satellite launches, to a space shuttle sending people to the moon. As time went on, technology has been evolving and getting smarter in smaller packages. Space is also changing in new ways that we can see but also can’t see. These space events that we can see are NASA’s launch of Artemis-1 around the moon, NASA´s mission to the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
Most likely the most interesting astronomy event in 2022 will be the annual Lyrid meteor shower starting on April 15, 2022, and ending on the 29th. According to earthsky.org, between sunset on April 21st and the early morning is the best viewing time. With about 15 meteors per hour going around 100 miles per hour (mph), it will be worth going for a relaxing nighttime walk. Also related to the Lyrid meteor shower is the constellation Lyra, especially the star Vega in the constellation. About 25 light years from Earth is where Vega is. According to science.howstuffworks.com, it is the fifth brightest star in the night sky, probably because it’s approximately 1 million miles wide. It will also be used as the North Pole star in the year 13,727 like it was in 12,000 B.C.E.
It has been 52 years since the United States put men on the moon, and we’re back at it again. With the Artemis missions, NASA is planning to send the first woman and person of color to land on the moon and potentially astronauts to Mars. However, according to nytimes.com, the upcoming launch this year is a test flight for the Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System which will circle the moon then come back to Earth. Hopefully, the manned mission to the Moon will be soon. Although, that is not the only thing that will be out of this world.
On August 1st, 2022, NASA will launch the Psyche mission to the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. In the uncharted area of space, the asteroid called Psyche is an area of interest because it is rich in metal and possibly a piece of a planet. According to nasa.gov, the asteroid Psyche spins on its side and is shaped similarly to a potato. The mission will launch this year but get to the asteroid in 2026, so it will travel in outer space for a while until we hear from it again.
On the topic of asteroids, NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) is about to crash into an asteroid. However, the people at NASA aren’t that worried, that is because it’s supposed to run into the asteroids. It’s the reason Dart was invented. According to nasa.gov, DART is about the size of a vending machine and it will crash into the asteroid at 15,000 mph. Additionally, the asteroid is about the size of the great pyramid, so for reference think of a vending machine crashing into a pyramid. Obviously, having the asteroid being that big, it’s not going to get destroyed, however, it will just push it off course so it misses Earth.
These events only scratch the surface of the many more out-of-this-world missions, meteor showers, and launches. However, we could not have possibly explored space or even sent rovers to Mars without the help of the employees at NASA because it’s not that simple. There’s science, engineering, writing, training, research, and many more things that go into this. It also takes a lot of time and money, and all the stellar people behind the scenes too.