Saturday , October 23 2021

Noteworthy moments of 2018 in space exploration


Humans' curiosity to see what lies beyond Planet Earth has progressed further in 2018, with several successful missions and test flights that allowed ordinary people to fire rockets in a few years.

But the year that Nasa turned 60 and the International Space Station (ISS) celebrated its 20th anniversary was not entirely without problems …


SpaceX, a rocket maker, progressed in 2018, launching the first test flight of its Falcon Heavy rocket with a red sports car coupled to it in February.

Founder Elon Musk sent his personal Tesla Roadster on the trip to Mars aboard the Heavy, from the same launch pad used by NASA in Florida nearly 50 years earlier to send men to the moon.


Aeolus, a UK-built laser satellite designed to measure wind speed, was launched into space in August by the European Space Agency (ESA).

SCIENCE Aeolus(PA Graphics)

Less than an hour after taking off from a rocket in Kourou, French Guiana, the satellite was in orbit as it began its three-year mission to improve weather.


The BepiColombo, built in Britain, sailed in October on a seven-year voyage to Mercury, one of the least-explored planets in the solar system.

SCIENCE Mercury(PA Graphics)

Orbiters are being sent on the spacecraft to understand some of the biggest questions about the planet, such as its giant iron core, volcanic openings and water ice clues. Mercury is also expected to have some answers about the origins of our solar system as well.


After nearly seven months of traveling through space and a complicated landing, NASA's InSight spacecraft landed successfully on Mars in late November.

The two-year, $ 814 million (£ 633 million) mission aims to shed new light on how the Red Planet was formed and its deep structure, mapping its core, crust and mantle.

InSight returned the selfies of the Martian surface to Earth soon after successful arrival.

International Space Station – Arrivals

The International Space Station is due to host two new residents, NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Alexei Ovchinin of Roscosmos in October as part of their regular cycle of visitors, but the mission was not planned.

The Soyuz-FG rocket carrying the pair failed early in the flight, resulting in an emergency return to Earth. Neither was injured.

Less than two months later, a second successful attempt was made, leading NASA's Anne McClain, David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency, and Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos to the station.

Kepler Space Telescope

The NASA spacecraft, known as the Kepler Space Telescope, was pronounced dead in October after nine years.

Having worked beyond expected, the spacecraft had been light on fuel for months and was struggling to target specific regions in the cosmos in early October.

In his mission, Kepler discovered more than 2,600 planets outside our solar system, which included Earth-like rocky planets that could harbor life.

Solar Parker Probe Closer to the Sun

A NASA spacecraft approached the Sun more than any other spacecraft in October, surpassing the previous record of 26.6 million kilometers established in 1976.

Over the next seven years, Parker's Solar Probe will make 24 approaches near the Sun and aim to reach 3.8 million miles.

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