Taking advantage of the festive date, let’s remember the most important moments in space exploration and astronomy in 2022. Check out the Top 5 of sidereal messenger.
5) China completes space station
In October, the Chinese space program completed construction of its own station, Tiangong, with its three modules. In addition to the ability to conduct experiments in space, China has bold plans to put a Hubble-class telescope in the same orbit between 2023 and 2024, which would allow for constant repairs and upgrades by astronauts. The Chinese are not playing around, even though their rocket stages continue to fall uncontrollably to Earth.
4) “Our” black hole
In May, the consortium gathered at the EHT, the Event Horizon Telescope, presented the first image of the supermassive black hole that resides at the heart of the Milky Way. It has been a long wait since the presentation of the first image of the shadow of such an object, captured by the same team and presented in 2019. At the time, it was the black hole at the center of the galaxy M87, with a mass of 6.5 billion suns. Although much closer, that of the Milky Way is also much smaller, with a mass of 4 million suns, which justifies the challenge.
3) The beginning of the return to the Moon
NASA kicked off its manned return journey to the Moon in earnest with the November launch of the Artemis 1 mission. It was the first successful flight of the SLS super rocket, putting an Orion capsule on a journey to high Moon orbit and then back to Earth. back to Earth, totaling 25.5 days in space. Everything went well, and now the way is clear for the American space agency to promote, in two years, the first mission with astronauts beyond Earth’s orbit since Apollo 17, conducted exactly five decades ago.
2) First asteroid deflection
Never before in the history of this planet has there been a species that is not helpless if an asteroid is on a collision course with it. After 2022, this is no longer the case for humanity. NASA’s Dart mission demonstrated for the first time the ability to change the orbit of a celestial body, by simply hitting the Dimorphous asteroid, measuring 170 meters, at 22,500 km/h. The impact, which occurred on September 26, altered its orbital period by 32 minutes, demonstrating the feasibility of the deflection technique.
1) Webb’s Big Hit
Launched a year ago, the James Webb Space Telescope, the result of a partnership between Nasa, ESA and CSA (US, European and Canadian agencies), delved deeper than any other in the observation of the limits of the Universe, revealing some of its older galaxies, from a time when the cosmos was only about 300 million years old. The telescope has also made unprecedented observations of exoplanets, and NASA is looking forward to the first results on the planets of Trappist-1, a system with seven worlds, three of which are in the habitable zone. The agency promises news from there with the new year, which is (yet another) reason to celebrate.
This column is published on Mondays in Folha Corrida.
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