What’s next in space in 2023

“This is the first mission to essentially focus on icy moons,” said Mark McCaughrean, senior adviser for science and exploration at ESA. “We now know these icy moons have very deep oceans of water and they may have the conditions for life to flourish.”

JUICE will map these oceans with radar instruments, but McCaughrean says it will also be able to look for possible biosignatures on Europa’s ice surface, which could fall from plumes of smoke. launched into space from the ocean below its surface.

By the end of 2023, ESA is scheduled for another big mission: their Euclidean telescope, transferred from a Russian rocket to a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The telescope will probe the “dark universe,” observing billions of galaxies across a third of the sky to better understand dark matter and dark energy in the universe.

In October, NASA will launch an important science mission of its own when Psyche takes off after a delay from 2022. The spacecraft will head towards 16 Psyche, an unusual metal-rich asteroid that has never been seen up close.

Some other intriguing developments are expected in 2023. NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission is scheduled to return to Earth in September with fragments of an asteroid called Bennu, can provide new understanding into the structure and formation of the solar system. Amazon aims to send the first satellites for Project Kuiper as early as 2023, the start of a 3,000-satellite orbital communications network that it hopes will rival SpaceX’s constellation of Starlink. And several new rockets are set to launch, including United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur rocket (it will carry Astrobotic’s moon lander and several Amazon satellites) and possibly the large New Glenn rocket. by Blue Origin. Both are heavy rockets that can send multiple satellites into space.

“There was a lot of activity,” says Cowart. “I am very excited about this year.”

This story is part of MIT Technology Review’s What is nextwhere we look at industries, trends and technologies to tell you what to expect next year.


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