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From a refrigerator-sized spacecraft plowing into an asteroid (intentionally) to a helicopter trying to catch a falling rocket Back on Earth, the year 2022 presented surreal moments In Space may have been plucked from the pages of a science fiction movie script.
in between Memorable events were billionaires making plans to explore the universe and scientists trying to find answers to perplexing questions, only to discover deeper mysteries.
Researchers have been able to grow plants in lunar soil for the first time, while engineers have successfully tested an inflatable heat shield that could land humans on Mars. Scientists have determined that a rare interstellar meteorite crashed into Earth nearly a decade ago.
Here’s a look back at 10 times space travel and exploration felt more like a plot out of a Hollywood movie than reality.
A NASA spacecraft deliberately collided with Dimorphos, a small asteroid orbiting a larger space rock called Didymos. While that collision sounded like something out of the 1998 movie “Armageddon,” the double asteroid reorientation test was a demonstration of deflection technology — and the first ever conducted on behalf of planetary defense.
Many followed on September 26th To view the surface of Dimorphos for the first time, with DART cameras illuminated Back to live photos. The scene ended after the spacecraft hit the asteroid, but images captured by space telescopes and an Italian satellite provided dramatic images of what followed.
The DART task is flagged For the first time, mankind has deliberately changed the motion of a celestial body in space. The spacecraft has changed The orbit of the small moon asteroid by 32 minutes. Neither Dimorphos nor Didymus pose a threat to Earth, but the twin asteroid system was an ideal target for testing deflection technology.
Fast radio bursts in space have intrigued astronomers since their discovery in 2007. But a mysterious radio that exploded in a heartbeat-like pattern raised the stakes this year.
Fast radio bursts, or FRBs, are intense bursts of radio waves milliseconds long of unknown origin — which only fuel speculation that their cause is more exotic than cosmic.
Astronomers estimate that the “heartbeat signal” came from a galaxy about 1 billion light-years away, but the location The cause of the explosion is unknown.
In addition, astronomers have also detected a powerful radio wave laser, known as a megamasser, and a spinning celestial body that shoots huge bursts of energy unlike anything they’ve seen before.
Speaking of UFOs, astronomers have taken a new leap forward in understanding alien radio circuits, or ORCs. No, they are not the humanoids from The Movie Lord of the Rings books, but this remarkable object has baffled scientists since its discovery in 2020.
The rings of space are so huge that they are each about a million light-years in diameter – 16 times larger than our Milky Way galaxy. Astronomers believe that the circles take a billion years to reach their maximum size, and are so large that they have stretched out to outpace other galaxies.
Astronomers have captured a new detailed image of strange radio circles using the MeerKAT telescope of the Radio Astronomy Observatory in South Africa, narrowing down potential theories that might explain these celestial oddballs.
Black holes are notorious for behaving badly and ripping apart stars — so astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope were surprised when they saw a black hole fueling the birth of stars.
Their observations revealed a gaseous umbilical cord extending from a black hole at the center of a dwarf galaxy to a stellar nursery where stars are born. The gas stream emitted by the black hole A fireworks display of the birth of stars as they interact with the cloud, resulting in the formation of a cluster of stars.
This year, astronomers also captured an image of the supermassive black hole lurking at the center of our galaxy, and Hubble spied a lone black hole wandering the Milky Way. And the X-ray signals from the black holes were transformed into eerie sounds we won’t soon forget.
Rocket Lab, a US-based company launched out of New Zealand, is trying to figure out a way to recover its rocket boosters roll towards Earth after launch. In 2022, the company made two attempts to deploy a helicopter with a hook attached. The wild spectacle is part of Rocket Lab’s plans to save money by recovering and reusing rocket parts after they fly satellites into space.
The first attempt in May seemed to go as planned when the helicopter hit the booster. But the pilots made the decision to abandon the rocket part due to safety concerns.
On the second attempt, the rocket never surfaced, and the pilots assured the booster would not return to the factory dry. In a tweet, the company mentioned there It was Data loss problem during missile re-entry.
NASA flew its first virtual assistant on a lunar mission with the space agency’s historic Artemis I flight A copy of Amazon’s Alexa.
While it’s not exactly reminiscent of HAL 9000, the antagonistic voice assistant in “2001: A Space Odyssey,” the decision made a lot of noise. superficial comparisons.
The Artemis I mission was unmanned, but NASA ground control teams used the voice assistant, called Callisto, to control the cabin lighting and play music during the flight. She didn’t have the power to open or close the doors, for the record.
Artemis I was just a test mission, and NASA is still evaluating how to include the voice recognition system in future missions.
Japanese fashion mogul Yusaku Maezawa has picked out eight passengers who he says will join him on a trip around the moon, powered by a yet-to-be-launched SpaceX spacecraft. The group includes American DJ Steve Aoki and popular space YouTuber Tim Dodd, better known as the Everyday Astronaut.
The mission, called Dear Moon, was first announced in 2018 with the goal of flying by 2023. Maezawa initially intended to take a group of artists with him on a six-day trip around the moon, but later announced that he had expanded his definition of an “artist”. Instead, Maezawa announced in a video last year that he would be open to people from all walks of life as long as they consider themselves artists.
Separately, millionaire Dennis Tito — who became the first person to make his way to the International Space Station in the early 2000s — made his own travel plans to the Moon with SpaceX.
Pieces of space debris have been found on farmland in the Snowy Mountains of Australia, and NASA and authorities have confirmed that the objects were likely. Scraps of hardware from the SpaceX Dragon capsule were intentionally discarded when the spacecraft re-entered Earth’s atmosphere in May 2021.
It is common for space debris to fall to Earth. But it is not uncommon for things to end on earth Ago Most space trash is dumped into the ocean.
Perhaps among the most unique space startups in the world, SpinLaunch aims to move satellites around in an airtight room. and throwing it into space instead of putting it on a rocket.
The company started testing a scaled-down version of its technology last year, but things have escalated in 2022. SpinLaunch achieved its tenth test flight in October.
There is a connection to science fiction as well. SpinLaunch founder Jonathan Yanni cites the work of Jules Verne – the writer of “Journey to the Center of the Earth” who died more than 50 years ago Before the first satellite went into space – as the inspiration for SpinLaunch.
It is not clear if the company’s technology will pay off. But in the meantime, this group will be in the New Mexico desert Trying to revive art.
If it wasn’t surreal enough to watch Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos and other celebrities Traveling into space on his self-funded suborbital rocket last year, where he heard the rocket explode just over a year later over West Texas—albeit on a flight without any passengers—was a harrowing moment that brought home the adage “space is hard.” However, the crew capsule, which was carrying scientific projects and other non-live payloads on Sept. 12 to land successfully.
“The capsule landed safely and the vehicle impacted within the designated danger zone,” the FAA said in a statement in September. Bezos’ Blue Origin has been in limbo since then and has not returned to the flight.
And with Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic still on Earth, neither of the two companies that led suborbital space tourism last year made routine flights.
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