The most significant events in space exploration for the year
2015 impressed with the number of discoveries of astronomers and the general achievements of scientists studying space.Comets, planets, asteroids, stars – all this has been studied, and brought results. Some achievements of astronomers may be called the most important for many decades. The bad news is that even the most significant achievements are forgotten.Perhaps some readers do not remember the landing of the probe on the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, or whatever it is discovered on Pluto. Let us remember.
The study of Pluto
This dwarf planet has long remained a mystery. What is happening there, how it looks? Nobody knew scientists could only guess. But this year, astronomers took a lot of photos, high-resolution images, which reveal the essence of Pluto. Pictures sent the machine New Horizons, which flew past Pluto and to the right is now in the Kuiper Belt. July 14 approached the machine with the minimum distance to Pluto, making great photos. By the way, most of the shots are still sent to the Earth due to the fact that the channel of communication is very much slower. The study of materials continues.
The study Charon
If scientists knew about Pluto anything (or can guess), then Charon, Pluto’s moon, was altogether unexplored subject. After New Horizons sent to Earth a few pictures of Charon, scientists have received of him more information than during the existence of astronomy. Interestingly, Charon was once a very geologically active object. And now he has something to boast – it kriovulkany.In addition, on Charon discovered a dark spot, called “Mordor.” Perhaps this “gift” of Pluto. Generally speaking, Charon noteworthy scholars no less than Pluto.
Development of asteroid
In November, the US president signed a law that makes it possible for US companies to develop the asteroids. There is already an officially registered company – Planetary Resources, which is going to go to the asteroids and start mining there minerals and chemical elements. Prior to the practical realization of ideas is still far, but the opportunity to become a space miner already exists, although theoretically.
Private “space cabs”
This year is particularly active private companies that are engaged in space flight. Here we can distinguish those who are going to engage in space tourism, and those who are already engaged in commercial launches of carrier rockets of its own production.With several companies, for example, SpaceX and Boeing, NASA has signed long-term contracts on cooperation.
Return stages of launch vehicles
Commercial companies have been able, finally, to carry and launch rockets with the return of stages to Earth. This applies both to Blue Origin, and SpaceX. Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos to be congratulated, but masks can congratulate a little longer – yet to return the Falcon 9 first stage – this is hardly a feat. For the first time managed to land stage of the launcher, which has successfully placed into orbit satellites.
Water on Mars
Is there life on Mars? It is still unknown. But water was exactly on Mars and may still exist, and in liquid form (although for a short period of time). Scientists have indirect evidence that liquid water on Mars appear every year around the same time.Where does this water – is still unclear, it is not clear and is how much of this water flows. Most likely, it is not enough to sustain life on Mars, but in the past there was more water, that’s for sure.
Spacecraft Cassini finally confirmed what scientists have guessed – under the icy crust of Enceladus, Saturn’s moon, is the ocean Well idkoy water. It is warm and salty water, now known definitively. Enceladus there kriovulkany that erupt with enviable regularity. Cassini flew through a few of these emissions, with the result that scientists have a lot of data on the composition of emissions.
Scientists expected revival space probe Philae to the surface of the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. But it happened, as always, unexpectedly. Due to the fact that the comet came closer to the Sun, the probe was able to get more power, and began to send information to Earth. Unfortunately, the awakening was not too long, though that data about the comet and its structure were still received by scientists of the Earth. It is impossible to forget and that the landing itself can be called successful. Yes, everything went according to plan a little, but most of the studies that are part of the scientific program, yet has been made.
Financing of further work NASA
It’s not really “cosmic achievement”, but close. The US Congress has allocated money NASA more than requested by the Agency. However, the requirements and more – for example, the agency will now have to land a spacecraft on the surface of Europa. But scientists do not have to save or trim any budget. Now the total NASA’s budget for 2016 is $ 19.2 billion. This is $ 700 million more than requested by US President Barack Obama. According to one of the congressmen, this year the Congress expressed the deepest level of trust agency, to increase funding for NASA. To finance the ‘European’ mission agency previously Asking about $ 30 million. As you can see, the Congress approved the budget, up to 6 times higher than the original figure.And it’s not only “European” mission.
NASA announced the recruitment of astronauts
Now in the United States designed and built the spacecraft more than ever, and the astronauts who are preparing now, is simply not enough. The Agency will begin accepting applications from December 14, the reception will continue until mid-February. And the outcome of applications will be announced already much later – in the middle of 2017. Applications will be accepted here.