2021 will be a great year for astronomy, and it cannot be otherwise considering the unabated human need for discovering reality beyond our own planet. Understanding our place in the Universe is practically mandatory, and NASA has some majestic plans for 2021.
Whether we’re talking about the return of humans to the Moon, the landing of a new rover on the surface of Mars, the launching of the next-generation James Webb Space Telescope into space, NASA has it all covered. The American space agency released a special video to present some of its plans for The New Year:
If the Artemis mission will be a success, the next destination is Mars. Building a colony there in the far future seems mandatory for the survival of the human race, and the first ‘baby steps’ can already be made.
Returning humans to the Moon after half a century
1972 was the last year when humans landed on the Moon, completing a series of Apollo missions that began on July 1969. There were six crewed US landings on our natural satellite. The names of the brave men who last walked on the Moon’s surface during the Apollo 17 mission are Command Module Pilot Ronald Evans, Commander Eugene Cernan, and Lunar Module Pilot Harrison Schmitt.
The upcoming James Webb Space Telescope will become a worthy placeholder for Hubble starting late 2021. The new tool will provide humanity with a closer look at the first stars that illuminated the Universe.
Volker Bromm from the McDonald Observatory declared:
This moment of first light lies beyond the capabilities of current or near-future telescopes. It is therefore important to think about the ‘ultimate’ telescope, one that is capable of directly observing those elusive first stars at the edge of time.
The world has all the reasons to look forward with optimism and realism for 2021, as the human need for progress is stronger than any shortcoming.