Space exploration missions in 2023

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Five space exploration missions to look out for in 2023.

Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer
  • Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (Juice) will be Europe’s first dedicated robotic mission to Jupiter.
  • The European Space Agency (ESA) plans to launch the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer mission in April 2023.
  • It will also become the first spacecraft to shift its own orbit to another world by moving to Ganymede’s orbit
  • The Juice mission will complete 35 fly-bys near Jupiter and will make detailed observations about the gas giant and its three large ocean-bearing moons–Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.
  • The mission will also characterise its moons as both planetary objects and potential habitat.
  • It will monitor Jupiter’s complex environment in depth including its magnetism, radiation and plasma.
  • It will study the Galilean moons’ hidden oceans, magnetism, heating processes, tidal effects, orbits, surface activity, cores, compositions, atmospheres and space environments.
  • It will hunt for biologically essential and important elements like carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, magnesium and iron.
  • Among the three moons, Ganymede will be the primary scientific target of the Juice mission.
  •  It is the largest moon in the Solar System and is larger than both Pluto and Mercury.
  • It is also the only moon to have its own intrinsic magnetic field. Mercury and Earth are the only other solid bodies that generate a dipole field like Ganymede.
OSIRIS-REx returning Earth
  • The Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security — Regolith Explorer, mercifully more commonly known as OSIRIS-REx, is a NASA mission to near-Earth asteroid Bennu.
  • A key goal of this robotic mission was to acquire samples of Bennu and return them to Earth for analysis.
  • It is now fast returning to Earth with up to a kilogram of precious asteroid samples stored aboard.
  • It was launched in September 2016. In 2021, it took off from the asteroid Bennu.
  • The spacecraft is carrying samples of the asteroid and is on track to return them to Earth in September 2023
Asteroid Bennu
  • Bennu is an approximately diamond-shaped world just half a kilometre in size, but has many interesting characteristics.
  • It can act as time capsules for the earliest history of our solar system.
  • It likely formed in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and has drifted closer to the Earth.
  • They preserve chemical signatures from when the universe was a younger place and might even contain samples of the ancient building blocks of life
  • Some of the minerals detected within it have been altered by water, implying that Bennu’s ancient parent body possessed liquid water.
  •  It also has an abundance of precious metals, including gold and platinum.
  • It is however classed as a potentially hazardous object with a (very) small possibility of Earth impact in the next century
Visiting Asteroid Psyche
  • Following OSIRIS-REx’s return, NASA plans to launch the Psyche mission to study the metallic asteroid 16 Psyche.
    The Psyche mission will offer a window into the collisions and accretion that create terrestrial planets.
  •  Instruments aboard the Psyche spacecraft will include a Multispectral Imager, a Gamma Ray and Neutron Spectrometer, a Magnetometer and an X-band Gravity Science Investigation.
  • The mission will also test a new laser communication technology that uses light at near-infrared wavelengths instead of radio waves to communicate with the Earth.
Asteroid Psyche
  • The asteroid orbits the Sun in an orbit between Mars and Jupiter and is unique because it appears to be the exposed nickel-iron core of an early planet, one of the building blocks of the solar system.
  • ISRO’s Chandrayaan-3 mission will be a follow up to the Chandrayaan-2 mission, which failed to achieve a soft landing on the Moon.
  • It will carry a lunar lander and a lunar rover to Earth’s lone natural satellite.
  • The mission is scheduled to launch aboard a Launch Vehicle 3 (LVM3) rocket, in june this year.
  • The mission’s propulsion module will carry the lander and rover configuration to an orbit that is about 100 kilometres above the Moon’s surface.
  • It will also carry a Spectro-polarimetry of HAbitable Planet Earth (SHAPE) payload to study the spectral and polarimetric measurements of Earth from the lunar orbit.
  • The mission’s lunar lander will carry instruments like o Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment (ChaSTE) to measure the thermal conductivity and temperature;
  • Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA) for measuring the seismicity around the landing site;
  • Langmuir Probe (LP) to estimate the plasma density and its variations.
  • A passive Laser Retroreflector Array from NASA will also hitch a ride aboard the lander.
dearMoon Project
  • The long-awaited dearMoon project, which will take members of the public on a six-day trip around the Moon and back, is due for launch on Starship and was originally planned for 2023.
  • It will be the first true deep space tourism launch.
  • This mission will mark a big change in the way we think about space, as previously only astronauts picked using incredibly stringent criteria have been able to go into deep space.
  • The success or failure of the dearMoon mission could affect whether deep space tourism becomes the next big thing, or it is relegated back to being a pipe-dream.
  • Also- Newly-developed rockets- Various private space companies will be conducting the maiden flights of their new rockets
India’s private space launch
  • Skyroot Aerospace, which successfully launched its Vikram-S rocket in November 2022, is soon to become the first private Indian company to launch a satellite.
  • Skyroot’s first satellite launch is planned for 2023, with a goal of undercutting the cost of private space launch rivals by producing its 3D-printed rockets in a matter of days.
  • If successful, this could also provide a route for cheaper launches of scientific missions, enabling a faster rate of research.
SpaceX Starship
  • Starship will be the largest spacecraft capable of carrying humans from Earth to destinations in space (the International Space Station is larger, but it was assembled in space).
  • It will be the most powerful launch vehicle ever to fly, capable of lifting 100 tonnes of cargo to low Earth orbit.
  • Starship is the collective name for a two-component system consisting of the Starship spacecraft (which carries the crew and cargo) and the Super Heavy rocket.
  • The rocket component will lift Starship to some 65km altitude before separating and returning to Earth in a controlled landing.

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