Let’s review the top 10 space-related stories of 2020

Dec 30, 2020, 2:00 PM
(Pexels Photo)...
(Pexels Photo)
(Pexels Photo)

With 2020 just about over, here are the space stories that many feel were the big news of the year.

These are not ranked in order of importance.

Here we go!

1. Space X scores some amazing launches

Space X launched its first astronauts with the May 2020 launch of two aboard the Demo 2 mission to the International Space Station in the Crew Dragon capsule.

This was followed up by the November launch of four astronauts to the ISS with the Crew-1 mission.

2. China’s Chang e 5 moon mission

China completed a difficult mission to the moon with the Chang e 5.

The Chinese spacecraft launched and soft-landed a module, which scooped up some 4.5 pounds of lunar material and returned it to Earth.

3. OSIRIS-Rex mission to asteroid Bennu

This mission to asteroid Bennu, launched back on Sept. 8, 2016. Its goal is to capture some material off the surface of an asteroid.

That occurred in October and the spacecraft is expected to return to Earth with its precious cargo Sept. 24, 2023.

4. Multiple missions headed To Mars

2020 offers some amazing spacecraft headed to the red planet.

NASA launched the high-technology Perseverance spacecraft along with the Mars helicopter Ingenuity. Perseverance will arrive at Mars in February 2021.

The Chinese launched the Tianwen-1 Mars mission and rover, another high-technology spacecraft.

Finally, the United Arab Emirates launched another spacecraft, known as Hope.

Expect some great images and date from the red planet in 2021.

5. 20th anniversary of astronauts to the ISS

The space station has been occupied since November of 2000 and since then, some 241 astronauts have been there.

This marks the 20th year of continuous occupation of the space station.

The ISS is set to remain occupied till at least 2028. The space station makes 16 obits of the Earth in a 24-hour period.

6. NASA announces 18 astronauts for Artemis moon missions

NASA makes some history, with the naming of 18 astronauts for the new moon missions known as Artemis (the Greek goddess of the moon).

The new lineup includes nine women and nine men. They’re set to begin additional training for the return to the moon possibly as early as 2025.

Learn more about this important story here.

7. Coronavirus effects on future spaceflight

NASA has some interesting plans to deal with the containment and vaccination of future astronauts on long duration space missions, from COVID-19 and other pathogens.

Learn more here.

8. Organic compound phosphine in the Venusian atmosphere

Ground-based telescopes claim to have detected the organic compound phosphine in the cloud tops of Venus. If this is finally confirmed by future spacecraft, this could be a most important discovery, indeed!

Phosphine gas is generated by organic life. We may be looking at some form of life closer to Earth than any other location so far.

9. Hyabusa 2 mission to asteroid Ryugu

The Japanese Hyabusa 2 spacecraft made a dramatic landing on the asteroid Ryugu back in 2019 and scooped up some samples of this remnant from the creation of the solar system.

After a long journey back to Earth, samples of this asteroid are now here to examine.

10. American astronaut sets record on ISS

U.S. astronaut Christina Koch spent 328 days on the ISS, breaking the mark for a female astronaut on a single mission on the space station.

Koch is also one of the new Artemis lunar team members for future NASA lunar missions.

Lean more about her here.

The previous record holder, astronaut Dr. Peggy Whitson, spent 288 days on a single mission on the ISS.

2021 looks bright for the exploration of space!

Happy New Year!

To print your own monthly star chart, click here.

To view satellites/dates/times of passage, click here.

Listen to the Dr. Sky Show on KTAR News 92.3 FM every Saturday at 3 a.m.

Dr. Sky Blog

(Pixabay Photo)...
Steve Kates

Heads up! Atmospheric optics are around on a regular basis

The skies are full of amazing sights other than the stars, planets and distant celestial objects - we're talking atmospheric optics.
2 days ago
(NASA Photo)...
Steve Kates

Red letter days ahead in December as Mars moves closer to Earth

During the month of December, expect to hear a lot about Mars and how best to view it and learn about it.
9 days ago
(Pixabay Photos)...
Steve Kates

It’s not a Thanksgiving turkey in the sky – that’s Cygnus the Swan

Point a pair of binoculars toward the sky on Thanksgiving night and find the magnificent Cygnus the Swan constellation.
16 days ago
NASA's new moon rocket lifts off from Launch Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral,...
Steve Kates

Everything you need to know about NASA’s Artemis I rocket to the moon

The long-awaited launch of the NASA Artemis 1 moon rocket has finally happened!
23 days ago
This Crab Nebula mosaic image was taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. (NASA/ESA Image)...
Steve Kates

The magic of constellation Taurus includes open star clusters

As we move deeper into the skies of autumn, we come across the zodiac sign of Taurus the Bull.
30 days ago
(NASA Image)...
Steve Kates

Taurid meteor shower could bring in colorful fireball season in coming days

With Halloween behind us and the prospect of a new set of November events to look forward to in our skies, we present fireball season 2022!
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Let’s review the top 10 space-related stories of 2020