OSIRIS-Rex is an incredibly ambitious NASA mission that can bring about several groundbreaking discoveries. This space mission has a simple goal: extracting an asteroid sample and bringing it back to Earth, a feat that has never been achieved. The astronauts will be travelling to Bennu, an asteroid that is considered to be made up of elements that are part of the history of our solar system.
The OSIRIS-Rex is expected to return to Earth during the 2020s, and many other space missions and agencies are vying to mine the rich and rare resources that can be discovered on the surface of asteroids. For instance, a private firm, Planetary Resources, is planning to launch a spacecraft, Arkyd 301, in 2020 to remotely undertake an analysis of the surface of asteroids.
4. Mars 2020 Rover
The Mars 2020 Rover is an ambitious and innovative space mission that serves as a major milestone in preparing Mars for explorations conducted by humans. This mission was scheduled to launch in July or August, and scientists are waiting for Mars to be in a favorable condition that allows NASA to launch a robotic space mission.
A Rover vehicle is the most essential piece of the mission, which will be used to undertake a thorough analysis of the environment, surface composition, examine the traces of water, and conduct a range of other scientific activities, like extracting oxygen from the atmosphere that is currently consisting of 96% carbon. All these activities are vital to prepare Mars to receive human explorers.
The Rover is a car-like structure that is 3 meters long, 2.2 meters tall and 2.7 meters wide, with a lightweight structure of 1,050 kilograms, which is much lighter than even the most compact vehicles. The Rover features 23 different cameras and sensors that have been designed to examine and identify the features of Mars, along with featuring antennas that can send and receive information to and from the Earth within five to twenty minutes. The Rover will be fueled with heat generated by plutonium radioactive decay.
“Mars is intricate and complex, and it doesn’t have just one surface,” says Eric Ford, a professor for astrophysics at Penn State. “It’s worthwhile studying Mars.”