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From a refrigerator-sized spaceship crashing into an asteroid (deliberately) to a helicopter trying to catch a plummeting rocket. Return to Earth, 2022 offered surreal moments in space that could have been ripped from the pages of a sci-fi movie script.
Come in Memorable events were billionaires charting plans to explore the cosmos and scientists trying to find answers to perplexing questions, only to uncover deeper mysteries.
The researchers achieved growing plants in lunar soil for the first timewhile the engineers successfully tested an inflatable heat shield that could take humans to Mars. And scientists determined that a Strange 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 Hollywood movie plot than real life.
A NASA spacecraft intentionally crashed into Dimorphos, a small asteroid orbiting a larger space rock called Didymos. While this collision sounded like something out of the 1998 movie “Armageddon,” the double-asteroid redirection test was a demonstration of deflection technology, and the first ever conducted in the name of planetary defense.
Many tuned in on September 26 to see how the surface of Dimorphos first appeared, with DART cameras beaming return live images. The hearing ended after the spaceship collided with the asteroidbut images captured by space telescopes Y an italian satellite provided dramatic photos of the aftermath.
DART mission marked the first time humanity intentionally changed the motion of a celestial object in space. The altered spaceship moonlet asteroid orbit for 32 minutes. Neither Dimorphos nor Didymos pose a threat to Earth, but the double asteroid system was a perfect target for testing deflection technology.
Fast radio bursts in space have intrigued astronomers since their discovery in 2007, but a mysterious radio burst with a pattern similar to a heartbeat upped the ante this year.
Fast Radio Bursts, or FRBs, are intense millisecond-long bursts of radio waves with unknown origins, only fueling speculation that their cause is more alien than cosmic.
Astronomers estimate that the “heartbeat signal” came from a galaxy about a billion light-years away, but the location and the cause of the explosion are unknown.
In addition, astronomers also detected a powerful radio wave laser, known as a megamaserand a rotating celestial object releasing gigantic bursts of energy unlike anything they had seen before.
Speaking of strange objects, astronomers have taken a new step forward in understanding odd radius circles, or ORCs. No, they are not the goblinlike humanoids from “The The Lord of the Rings books, but these fascinating objects have baffled scientists since their discovery in 2020.
The space rings are so massive that each measures about 1 million light-years across, 16 times larger than our Milky Way galaxy. Astronomers believe that it takes billions of years for the circles to reach their maximum size, and they are so large that they have expanded beyond other galaxies.
Astronomers took a new detailed photo of strange circles of radius using the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory’s MeerKAT telescope, narrowing down possible theories that could explain these celestial oddballs.
Black holes are notorious for misbehaving and crushing stars, so astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope were shocked when they saw a black hole fueling the birth of a star.
Their observation revealed a gaseous umbilical cord stretching from a black hole at the center of a dwarf galaxy to a stellar nursery where stars are born. The gas stream provided by the black hole triggered a fireworks display of stellar birth as it interacted with the cloud, leading to a cluster of forming stars.
This year, astronomers too captured an image of the supermassive black hole lurking at the center of our galaxyand hubble spotted a lone black hole wandering the Milky Way. And the X-ray signals from the black holes were turned into spooky sounds we won’t soon forget.
Rocket Lab, a US-based company launching from New Zealand, is trying to find a way to recover its rocket boosters as they go. fall out toward Earth after launch. In 2022, the company made two attempts to deploy a helicopter with a hook attachment. The wild show is part of Rocket Lab’s plans to save money by salvaging and reusing rocket parts after satellites jump into space.
The first attempt in May it appeared to be going according to plan when the helicopter engaged a booster. But the pilots made the decision to drop the rocket part for safety reasons.
About him Second try, the rocket was never in sight, and the pilots confirmed that the propellant would not return dry to the factory. In a tweet, the company reported there was a data loss issue during rocket reentry.
NASA flew its first virtual assistant on a mission to the moon with the space agency’s historic Artemis I flight: A version of Amazon’s Alexa.
While not exactly reminiscent of HAL 9000, the antagonistic voice assistant in “2001: A Space Odyssey,” the decision sparked many funny comparisons.
The Artemis I mission was unmanned, but NASA ground control teams used the voice assistant, called Callisto, to control cabin lighting and play music during the journey. He didn’t have the ability to open or close doors, for the record.
Artemis I was just a test mission, and NASA is still evaluating how the voice recognition system can be included on future missions.
Japanese fashion mogul Yusaku Maezawa picked up eight passengers who said she will join him on a trip around the moon, powered by SpaceX’s Starship spacecraft, which has yet to be flown. The group includes the American DJ Steve Aoki and the popular youtuber Tim Dodd, better known as the everyday astronaut.
The mission, called Dear Moon, was first announced in 2018 with the intention of flying in 2023. Maezawa initially aimed 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 “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 saw themselves as artists.
Separately, millionaire Dennis Tito, who became the first person to pay for his trip to the International Space Station in the early 2000s, made his own moon travel plans with SpaceX.
Pieces of space junk were reportedly found on farmland in Australia’s Snowy Mountains, and NASA and authorities confirmed that the objects probably hardware remains of a SpaceX Dragon capsule intentionally jettisoned when the spacecraft re-entered Earth’s atmosphere in May 2021.
It is common for space debris to fall to Earth. But it’s much less common for objects to end up on land. since most of the space junk is discarded in the ocean.
Perhaps among the most unique space startups in the world, SpinLaunch aims to launch satellites in a vacuum-sealed chamber. and launch them into space instead of putting them on a rocket.
The company began testing a scaled-down version of its technology last year, but things picked up in 2022. SpinLaunch achieved its 10th test flight in October.
There is also a connection to science fiction. Jonathan Yaney, founder of SpinLaunch quotes the work of Jules Verne — “Journey to the Center of the Earth” writer who died more than 50 years ago before the first satellite went into space, as the inspiration for SpinLaunch.
It’s unclear if the company’s technology will ever come to fruition. But in the meantime, this group will be in the New Mexico desert. trying to bring art to life.
If it wasn’t surreal enough to see Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos and other celebrities travel to space in your self-financing suborbital rocket last year, hearing that the rocket exploded A little over a year later, in West Texas, albeit on a passengerless ride, it was a heartbreaking moment that brought home the saying “space is hard.” However, the crew capsule, which was carrying scientific projects and other inanimate payloads on September 12, he was able to to land successfully.
“The capsule landed safely and the booster impacted within the designated hazard area,” the Federal Aviation Administration said in a September statement. Bezos’ Blue Origin has been in limbo ever since and hasn’t flown again.
And with Richard Branson galactic virgin still on the ground, none of the companies that spearheaded suborbital space tourism last year are making routine flights.
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