Reasons why 2023 is expected to be a record-breaking year for space exploration

2022 was one of the biggest years in space exploration the James Webb Space Telescope was deployed and has sent back stunning images of the universe.

It also saw a successful uncrewed test mission back to the moon. The first of the Orion flights are just two highlights from the last year.

Here’s a preview of plans for 2023. three two one and liftoff. It’s set to be an unprecedented year for private and commercial space missions a couple of different firms working with NASA for instance will be putting.

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space

Landers down on the surface of the Moon in the next few months. Some of the research they’ll conduct will pave the way for future manned missions to our nearest.

Celestial neighbor and Aerospace manufacturer Boeing looks set to finally begin shuttling astronauts back and forth to the International Space Station with its Starliner the spacecraft passed muster on an uncrewed flight to the ISS in 2022 rival SpaceX has been carrying astronauts up to the station since 2020.

And its crew Dragon spacecraft 2023 it’s planning to send four space tourists on a mission called Polaris Dawn that’s slated to last at least three days and incorporate the first ever civilian spacewalk meters down the road another mission is planned with its Starship launch vehicle atop the company’s super heavy booster it’ll be the most powerful rocket ever built moving farther out into space.

We’ll see the return in September of material from the asteroid bennu the round trip Osiris-rex spacecraft which took samples from the surface of the near-earth object has taken seven years to complete a few weeks after the rubble from arriving back on Earth NASA has penciled at the beginning of a trip to another asteroid this time one rich in metal the mission will take the psyche probe way out into the solar system to the asteroid belt far beyond the orbit of Mars It Will collect data on the super heavy asteroid psyche 16.

and the European Space Agency is also breaking new ground in April with the launch of a trip to our Solar System’s largest planet Jupiter’s icy moons Explorer Mission or juice will Zero in on the gas giant and some of its frozen Satellites after completing an eight-year journey to get there an exciting year for space research in 2023 is an Italian astronaut with the European Space Agency 2023 sounds exciting anything you’re excited about in particular well um I am I work for the human-robotic exploration Department to directorate here at ISA and of course what makes me excited is an exploration and one of the missions that your previous service showed the juice mission is is incredibly exciting I am also passionate about science fiction uh growing up and so the idea of exploring the ice giants Callisto El ropa is exciting but of course.

I’m even more excited about human exploration and so we have several things coming up this year for which I am obviously very excited the first civilian Space Walk could happen this year you’ve spacewalked half a dozen times I believe what it actually feels like I thank you I’m going to put into words because we don’t have anything on Earth that compares me uh being weightless uh outside of the space station or in a spacewalk but um the big the nicest comparison that you make is Imagine uh imagine being in in the Red Sea and snorkeling and looking down and seeing or in the aquarium and looking at those wonderful colorful uh fish and environment or actually scuba diving the idea of being immersed in space in a spacewalk is a little bit like that being completely immersed in this alien environment except that um yeah.

I guess with scuba diving it’s a case of just sort of coming back up to the surface at some stage when you’re in space there’s no way that you can take that helmet off um and you surely don’t want to make any mistakes up there do you when you’re outside of a space station no that’s why it takes hundreds and hundreds of hours of training to perform even one liter relatively simple spacewalk and more complex spacewalks require hundreds of people training and preparing you for that specific task can you also explain to us why this uh Space Race uh is back on again why uh so many companies and countries are so interested in outer space once again absolutely.

It’s I think we are acquiring finally as Humanity we are requiring understanding and awareness that space is not just that nice to have but it’s a must-have location for us to have resources in the future what is important to understand is that nowadays we are not looking for another planet for us to live on this is not in our friends it’s International agencies.

But what we’re looking at is a way to have access to new resources that are not available on our planet we want to preserve our planet by using utilizing resources that are basically infinite in the space around us and nowadays.

It’s time to take the steps to ensure that future and it has to be a future where Europe is present that’s why the European space agency has a new class of astronauts that’s why we have so many missions coming up in Exploration.

It’s a very interesting insight there from Astronaut Luca Pantano thank you very much for being on DW news you’re very welcome thank you and with me here in the studio is DW science correspondent Derek Williams.

So 2023 was a very exciting year, uh tell us a little bit more uh about it well there were a lot of exciting missions those were only five or six that I introduced in the piece but um really one of the most exciting missions.

I think personally is this unmanned mission to Jupiter and and and its moons which is um going to be taking off next year and it’s going to take eight years to get out there um to explore Jupiter and these three icy moons so it’ll only arrive in 2031.

I really hope I’m around when the data starts to come back on it because if they’re icy worlds we’re assuming that there’s water there and of course, water indicates as far as we know water would be a prerequisite for life um that’s life as we know it is is really that’s a prerequisite is H2O.

And so if we get out there there is a possibility that they might actually discover indicators that there is life on the moons of Jupiter um so really really exciting stuff there’s also these manned missions.

The Polaris Dawn Mission which is coming up is the first time that civilians are going to be um on this particular flight that’s going to be already for they estimate three to five days there’ll be a civilian spacewalk.

So lots going on Space activities seem to be picking up steam is that true yeah they really are um you know for example um if you just look at there are reasons for that um, for example, uh launch payloads have gotten much cheaper as we’ve developed satellite technology because we’re sending.

So many satellites up into space um we’ve managed to just to streamline that and streamlining that has made it more common and it’s the Innovation is is is is really picking up speed um, of course, the next step would be to get away from doing manufacturing with materials down here on Earth and boosting stuff up out of the Earth’s gravity well and instead starting to mine these resources which are practically really infinite in space as long as we can get to them and so that’ll be the next step how about the commercialization of space companies like SpaceX, for example, how are they changing the game well they’re changing the game really quite dramatically you know.

I’m not a big fan of unbridled capitalism in general particularly when it comes to things like for example health care but I think when it comes to space Innovation it’s really going to drive innovation in a big way as I mentioned cheapening these what it costs to boost something up out of the Earth’s gravity well has made it easier and faster for us to develop things in general but of course, it leads to problems on the one hand, for example, um being able to boost things cheaply up from the surface of the Earth means that we can resupply for example the International Space Station more easily but on the other hand it makes it cheaper to boost satellites up and so we’re having thousands of them which represent a danger to the ISS so um there are both sides of the coin and we really are I think in the long run going to need more International Space regulation we kind of actually need it already Derek Williams. Thank you so much.

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