James Webb area telescope
This Nasa telescope, which is to exchange the Hubble, has been topic to many delays – its first deliberate launch was in 2007. A March 2020 takeoff was delayed as a result of Covid, whereas its preliminary $500m finances has spiralled to greater than $10bn (£7.4bn). It is a extra delicate telescope than the Hubble and as soon as operational will probably be in a position to observe the formation of among the first galaxies. It can be launched on a European Ariane 5 rocket on 31 October.
Mars missionsThe launch of the UAE’s Hope probe final July. Photograph: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries/AFP/Getty Images
Three missions which have already launched can have a Martian encounter in 2021. On 9 February, the UAE’s Hope probe ought to arrive and start orbiting the planet with the intention to examine its ambiance and climate. Just a few days later, China’s Tianwen-1 orbiter will arrive to search for a possible touchdown website earlier than depositing a lander on the floor a few months later. Also in February, Nasa’s Mars 2020 is because of be a part of the get together and launch its Perseverance rover on 18 February, to seek for indicators of microbial life and drill for rocks that could possibly be returned to Earth by a future mission.
An artist’s picture of the Artemis lunar mission. Photograph: AP
Last yr, Nasa introduced plans to take astronauts again to the moon in 2024. The first stage in this programme – to ship an unmanned craft to orbit the moon – is because of launch in November. However, additional delays are seemingly and the price of the programme can be scrutinised by the incoming Biden administration.
Chinese area stationAn artist’s picture of China’s deliberate modular area station. Photograph: Chinese News Service
The first module of this long-planned project is because of be launched within the first half of the yr. The building ought to take round two years and 18 taikonauts have been chosen to crew the craft as soon as it’s in orbit about 240 miles (380km) above Earth.
Dart missionThe Dart mission’s future collision with the Didymos binary asteroid system, as rendered by an artist. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
In July, Nasa will kick off its Double Asteroid Redirection Test. A probe can be fired into area with the purpose of visiting the asteroid Didymos in 2022; it is going to then strike the asteroid’s moonlet, Dimorphos. Two European craft will monitor the impression and its impact on the rock’s orbit.