Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was a rather slow year for space achievements, but the industry continues to expand its reaches across the solar system as 2021 continues to move forward. Let’s take a look at the biggest plans and ongoing missions in this ambitious year for space exploration:
- Is there life on Mars?: Three countries’ spacecraft will land on Mars. NASA continues its search for life on the Red Planet with their Perseverance rover, while China’s Tianwen-1 mission will explore it for the first time in their history. Additionally, the United Arab Emirates also sent their Hope orbiter to study the planet’s weather cycles.
- Human spaceflight: After its failed attempt to reach orbit in 2020, Boeing will launch a second attempt on March 29, 2021. If the initial software issues are correctly solved and the test flight proves to be a success, Boeing could have its first crewed test flight in September 2021.
- Commercial space travel: SpaceX’s plans to send private astronauts for a mission to the International Space Station. The trip will likely include an eight days stay at the station and two additional days of travel time. Even though tourists have already visited the ISS before, this will make history as the first-ever fully private spaceflight.
- Moon missions: While Mars looks to be the hottest destination this year, lunar exploration is still very popular. For example, Russia plans to send its lander Luna-25 to the moon’s surface since it was part of the Soviet Union. It will land at the moon's south pole to study the lunar surface and atmosphere.
Space exploration will surely take us to unimaginable places this 2021 and beyond. Are you ready for it?
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