NASA was established on Oct 1, 1958. It stepped into the “space race” when the US and the Soviet Union were competing with each other for the most advanced technologies and effective space research. NASA successfully landed a man on the moon’s surface in 1969 and now ready for next Future Space Missions Timeline.
Since then, NASA has conducted around 200 manned and unmanned missions. However, in 2010, the agency suffered a serious fall when the shuttle program was canceled, and the Constellation program, which was supposed to send astronauts back to the moon, was abolished by the Obama administration.
Despite it, NASA did not stop exploring the universe, as missions to the ISS and the magnificent Hubble telescope demonstrate. Here is a list of 10 Important Future NASA Missions that we can expect.
1. Parker Solar Probe
The newest mission of NASA was revealed in May 2017. And it will be absolutely incredible: a flight to the Sun.
The probe will be launched this year and will cover a distance of 6.4 mn Km to the Sun, which is quite close according to astronomical measures. Its purpose is to collect important data on the structure of the Sun and the mechanism of heating, which has been puzzling scientists for long.
This mission is very exciting for several reasons. First, it will provide scientists the answers to their questions. Secondly, the probe will approach unimaginably close to the Sun. Thirdly, it will be the fastest artificial object, flying at a speed of 429988 miles per hour.
The probe will land in 2025.
2. Europa Clipper
Europa Clipper mission is to answer one of the most exciting issues of all times: is there life anywhere else in the universe? In 2020, the spacecraft will be launched in search of extraterrestrial life to Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter.
Recently, it has been discovered that there is an ocean beneath the surface of Europa, and scientists want to know if this ocean contains life. They will look for liquid water, the desired chemical composition, and energy sources. To collect all the necessary information, Clipper will fly around Europa and collect the necessary data. This process will be repeated 40-45 times. After that, the probe will set to return to the Earth.
Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) is a mission conducted by the European Space Agency. ESA works in partnership with NASA, which will provide the necessary tools and other details.
The mission is scheduled to start in 2022. Europa, Callisto and Ganymede, three satellites of Jupiter, will be explored. This mission will provide scientists with a better understanding of the evolution of satellites and the possible existence of life. In a sense, the mission resembles the Europa Clipper, but the data it collects will be much broader.
JUICE will not be launched before 2022, and the probe will take 90 months to reach Jupiter. Then the mission itself will finish, and another eight years will be required to return it back to Earth
4. NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission
The purpose of the ARM mission will be to protect the Earth from the falling asteroids, which, for example, killed the dinosaurs.
In 2020, this mission will be sent in the direction of a large asteroid nearby. Upon arrival, a large robotic manipulator will take a stone from the asteroid. The spacecraft will tow the stone to the Moon’s orbit, and the astronauts on the spaceship “Orion” will be able to explore it completely. The mission is to provide critical data on asteroids that astronomers will use to learn how to identify and combat any dangerous asteroids coming to us from outer space.
More importantly, this mission will play an important role in sending humans to Mars by the 2030s. The technologies used in this mission will be useful for a long journey. Therefore, while astronauts and scientists will be studying asteroids, parallel tools and equipment will be checked to help in the development of the Red Planet.
5. Spacecraft Orion
The Orion spacecraft is NASA’s next major mission to bring people into space. It will lead us further than ever, perhaps to Mars. “Orion” is designed to withstand high temperatures, speed, radiation and other extreme conditions. The usual shuttle could not cope with what the Orion can handle, and this is a great feat for aeronautics.
Orion will be launched on a large SLS rocket (Space Launch System). This missile will be able to take the Orion out of the Moon. The first launch took place in 2014. The next step is to launch Orion to an asteroid nearby. The ultimate goal will be Mars.
6. Mars rover 2020
Mars Rover will be launched in 2020. It is believed to become an important step in mastering Mars. It will crawl over the surface of Mars and collect data.
NASA likes to compare this robot to a human being: it has a body, brain, hands, feet, eyes, and ears. It is equipped with batteries and insulated. It has an internal heating to combat the Martian temperatures. These parts might guarantee its reliability.
The rover is equipped with a manipulator that will fumble on the ground, collecting samples like pebbles to bring them back to Earth for further investigation.
“Euclid” is a joint mission of ESA and NASA. The mission should collect data on dark matter and dark energy. Dark energy is an unknown force that negates gravity and accelerates the expansion of the universe. It accounts for about 73% of the universe, but scientists still do not know anything about it. That’s why it’s dark.
Dark matter has no concern with dark energy, despite the similar names. Dark matter is only 27% of the universe. But this is not the ordinary matter which we are accustomed to.
The telescope “Euclid” will be launched into space in 2021 and will collect cosmological information from two billion galaxies in order to make a better idea of the evolution of the universe.
8. Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST)
The task of this telescope is to collect a maximum data on dark energy and exoplanets.
The exoplanets are planets outside our solar system, and it is worth taking several tasks to WFIRST. First, it will have to count them. The beginning of calculating exoplanets was laid by the Kepler mission, and WFIRST will continue its work.
The next task of WFIRST will be connected to a new technology for characterizing exoplanets and detecting them through direct visualization. Usually, this method is rather difficult to find – you need to take a direct shot of the planet. It sounds simple, but quite often, the parent star eclipses the exoplanet and hides it from our view. WFIRST will try to change it.
The telescope will study the accelerated expansion of the universe, associated with dark energy. NASA plans to launch the telescope in the early 2020s, and it will be flying for six years.
NASA’s Multi-Angle Imager for Aerosols mission directly affects our home. One of the mission’s goals is to track cyclones on Earth. But its task to study air pollution is even more important.
As Earth spins, the mission will observe “particles” of polluted air in different places and measure the properties of the substance in these places.
10. Psyche Asteroid Mission
In 2022, the “Psyche” spacecraft will travel in the direction of the asteroid, which rotates between Mars and Jupiter. This asteroid is unusual because it consists of nickel and iron.
Scientists believe that this is the remnant of the planet’s metallic core from the early history of the formation of the solar system.
The information that will be collected on the basis of this asteroid could provide us with a deep insight into the structure of the nuclei of the planets like the Earth. It could also shed light on the processes of formation of the solar system, for example, the collision and chaos.