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Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Space scientists have found how much they can achieve when they collaborate, this year a great achievement through commercial ties

Space scientists who have found how much they can achieve when they collaborate have made great achievements this year through the commercial sector and relations with foreign countries.

In 2022, successful collaborations included the launch and calibration of the world’s most powerful space telescope, as well as photography of the never-before-seen supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy.

The year has also demonstrated what can go wrong.

Stray rocket junk sank into the Moon in an unexpected orbit, for example, creating a new crater. And NASA’s mega Moon rocket, the Space Launch System, has stumbled on its way to its first lunar mission, with the agency facing a number of problems as contractors work during a crucial test this spring.

James Webb Space Telescope open for business

Whether the rest of the year will include the inaugural Moon-bound Artemis mission, the United States’ return to human deep space exploration, remains to be seen. Read more about the biggest moments of the year so far in space.

The most powerful observatory in space made its mark 1 million miles from Earth in late January and unfurled its intricate, tennis court-shaped sun shield. Engineers have since calibrated the Webb telescope’s scientific instruments, exceeding expectations for its level of accuracy.

Astronomers predict that the telescope will herald a golden age in our understanding of the universe, providing a snapshot of space billions of light-years away.

On July 12, the James Webb Space Telescope, a partnership between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, will deliver its first full-color images. What those first cosmic targets would be is a veiled mystery. Webb is expected to observe some of the oldest, weakest light in the universe. The telescope will focus on the period less than 300 million years after the Big Bang, when many of the first stars and galaxies were born.

Scientists will also use telescopes to peek into the atmospheres of planets outside our solar system, called exoplanets. For example, discoveries of water and methane could be signs of potential habitat or biological activity. NASA’s Mega Moon rocket crawls out of storage

A rocket as tall as the Statue of Liberty went into hiding in March when the US space agency rolled it over to a Florida launchpad for a crucial test. The Space Launch System, or SLS, is a 5.75-million-pound giant built to blast off a spacecraft to the Moon for the Artemis mission, NASA’s human space exploration mission. The program will eventually send people to the Moon and Mars.

Originally, NASA believed the first uncrewed flight could happen as early as May. But a number of problems surfaced during testing, leading to further delays. It is unclear when the rocket will be ready for takeoff. The rocket is said to be the most expensive ever built, with each launch estimated to cost more than $4 billion. For perspective, that’s about a fifth of the entire NASA budget.

NASA Inspector General Paul Martin, an agency watchdog, warned a US House committee in March that the rocket, a government-mandated project with a bloated budget, “will disrupt, if not derail, NASA’s Potential to Sustain Long-Term Human Exploration Goals.” Saturn’s Moon May Be an Oceanic World

Saturn’s moon Mimas is thought to resemble the Death Star from Star Wars, a killing machine resembling a planet. It doesn’t resemble a place that could potentially support life – until now.

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