/What’s next in space

What’s next in space

Key idea: The moon, private space travel, and the wider solar system will all have major missions over the next 12 months.

Original author and publication date: Jonathan O’Callaghan (MIT Technology Review) – December 22, 2022

Futurizonte Editor’s Note: Space is still the final frontier, but, how long before we seriously go out there to explore?

From the article:   

We’re going back to the moon—again—in 2023. Multiple uncrewed landings are planned for the next 12 months, spurred on by a renewed effort in the US to return humans to the lunar surface later this decade. Both private space companies and national agencies are set to make the 240,000-mile trek to our celestial neighbor, where they will test landing capabilities, look for usable water ice, and more.

Previous years were “all about Mars,” says Jill Stuart, a space policy expert from the London School of Economics in the UK. “Now we’ve shifted back to the moon.”

That is not all 2023 has in store. We’re also likely to see significant strides made in private human spaceflight, including the first-ever commercial spacewalk, compelling missions heading out into—or back from—other solar system destinations, and new rockets set to take flight.

Here’s what the next year has lined up for space:

Moon landings

A lunar lander will already be on its way when 2023 begins. Launched in December on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, the private spacecraft Hakuto-R, developed by Japanese firm ispace, is on a four-month journey to reach the moon, where it will deploy rovers built by the space agencies of Japan and the United Arab Emirates, among other goals. If successful, Hakuto-R could become the first private mission to land on the moon in March.

Private space travel

Since May 2020, SpaceX has been using its Crew Dragon spacecraft to ferry astronauts to space, some to the International Space Station (ISS) under contract with NASA and others on private missions. But SpaceX’s Polaris Dawn mission, currently slated for March 2023, will be a big new step.

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