1. A suicide bomber crashes into an asteroid
Successful mission for NASA. On September 26, the American space agency voluntarily projected one of its ships on the asteroid Dimorphos to divert it from its trajectory. This asteroid, located about 11 million kilometers from Earth at the time of impact, is about 160 meters in diameter and poses no danger to our planet. Called Dart (dart, in English, editor’s note), this unprecedented “planetary defense” mission allowed NASA to train in case an asteroid one day threatened to hit Earth and destroy our humanity.
2. A helicopter launched in pursuit… from a rocket
It is a spectacle that we did not expect to see. And yet, it happened twice this year: helicopters armed with grappling hooks were launched into the sky to try and catch… rockets. This original concept was implemented by the start-up Rocket Lab. She searches for a way to retrieve her rocket boosters, as they head back to Earth shortly after launch. The idea is to reuse these parts and therefore save money. Unfortunately, the two attempts that took place in 2022 ended in failure.
3. Weird, Singing Black Holes!
The year 2022 was rich in discoveries about the black holes lurking in our galaxy. Starting with this one: astronomers have discovered the fastest growing black hole in the past nine billion years. This black hole has the mass of three billion suns. It encompasses the equivalent of an Earth every second and illuminates 7,000 times more than all the light in our Milky Way Galaxy!
This year, astronomers also captured an image of the supermassive black hole forming in our galaxy. And, even more amazing, NASA managed to make black holes sing!
4. Artists prepare their vacation… on the Moon
After spending a season aboard the International Space Station (ISS), the capricious Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa invited eight artists for a special occasion: a six-day trip around the Moon aboard a SpaceX spacecraft. The names of the lucky winners were announced in early December, selected from over a million entries. This includes American DJ Steve Aoki and YouTuber Tim Dodd.
The trip program has not yet been announced. But on his first sojourn in space (which cost him around 70 million euros!), Yusaku Maezawa notably played badminton, golf and had fun blowing soap bubbles.
5. Artificial intelligence takes off into space
While artificial intelligence is increasingly present in our lives on Earth, it is already flying into space. In fact, on board its Artemis flight, NASA tested a virtual assistant, called Callisto. It is, in some ways, the equivalent of Amazon’s Alexa, but adapted for life in a rocket.
Since the Artemis I mission was unoccupied, it was therefore Callisto who acted as an assistant, for example, to control the lighting or start the music during the journey. But let novice astronauts rest assured: he still does not have the ability to open and close the doors of space capsules!
A year of courage
2022 will therefore have been a very busy year in space. Let’s mention a few more unprecedented feats that took place this year. For the first time, scientists have grown plants on lunar soil. On Mars, NASA was able to create oxygen. And the International Space Station has also gone green since it was equipped with solar panels.
But 2022 will also have shown us the less pleasant sides of space exploration. So now we know that humans have already left over 7 tons of garbage on Mars.
Find all news on Metrotime.be