Science and technology are constantly advancing, and administrations such as NASA are always taking on extensive projects. I’ve always loved NASA, but it has been relatively quiet and not as prominent in the media the last few years. These are some of NASA’s biggest projects to get excited for this year—hopefully, they can get us even more excited for what the future has in store.
Astonishingly, astronauts haven’t been to the moon since 1972. However, NASA has undertaken a few projects to get us there again, including Artemis I. In June, an uncrewed test flight will pass close by the moon. This trip will collect important data and prepare NASA for Artemis II, a crewed flyby currently scheduled for May of 2024. Seeing that NASA is back to doing big projects such as these is exciting, and I hope that these timelines stay accurate and that there aren’t any delays.
Laser Communications Relay
One of NASA’s newer projects that I’m also excited about is the laser communication relay, which uses laser communications systems to transmit data from space to Earth. These sorts of relays rely on laser diode drivers to transform the way information is transmitted. Traditionally, NASA used radios to communicate with astronauts, but it has now developed these laser communication relays to transfer large quantities of data. Infrared light encodes and transmits this information at a much higher frequency than traditional radio waves, allowing NASA to share more data through each transmission.
The Psyche Mission
One of the most exciting projects going on right now is the Psyche mission, which involves sending a spacecraft to an asteroid named Psyche. We’ve known about asteroids for years but never directly interacted with one. This project launches later this year in August, and the spacecraft won’t enter the orbit of the asteroid until 2026. NASA chose this asteroid because its core is similar to those of rocky planets such as ours. Hopefully, this mission will provide the world with a lot more information about the universe beyond our Earth and about what makes up our own planet.
These are NASA’s biggest projects for this year, many more are likely to come within the next few years. Science and technology develop at an exponential rate, and these projects will illuminate the path forward for even bigger and better things in the future. I can’t wait to see them.