2022 is a year of big space missions, including one that could take us closer to visiting Mars, another to the moons of Jupiter, and yet another that aims to turn Texas into a Martian setting.
There is still a lot of space that we don’t know about, goals to reach and planets to conquer, so NASA, Elon Musk (who says he wants to crash a rocket into an asteroid to save Earth) and the space agencies have many plans in this regard, and some of them will take place this year. The plan, at least in the long term, is to conquer Mars and hopefully allow many more (civilian) people to see what’s out there with their own eyes, but you have to start somewhere and that means that you have to do several tests, trips and projects first.
Last year we had the first entirely civilian trip (and it has its own documentary on Netflix called Inspiration4), a rover gave us some of the most shocking images of the Red Planet and we saw some of the world’s greatest millionaires board a rocket to leave Earth (and that inspired a petition for at least one of them not to return), so 2022 has bigger things on the horizon.
The objective of the rover is to collect different samples from the surface of Mars, search for bioforms in the planet’s soil and bring back all the information so that it can be analyzed by experts.
JUICE stands for Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer and it is an ESA mission that will be launched in 2022 and aims to reach Jupiter by 2029, in order to study the moons of Ganymede, Callisto and Europa.
Experts believe that these moons are full of water and it is believed that if they find what they believe, it could serve as an extra resource to protect life on Earth. When the mission happens, it will be the first to orbit a moon other than our own natural satellite.
To conquer Mars, we first have to find a way to help humans adapt and survive there, and that’s done through testing, training, and simulations.
This year, the Mars Dune Alpha mission will take place in the Texas desert, where a mission that simulates the Martian surface will be carried out, creating a station of more than 150 square meters that was printed in 3D. This place will be the home of 4 astronauts who will have the experience of living in an environment similar to that of the Red Planet, where they will also have to face challenges, errors and obstacles that a real mission could face in the future.
All this will help NASA to have more information to make a better plan for the Mars project.