What Space Events Does 2017 Have in Store?

Jan 10 2017 Read 1070 Times

From a Trump presidency to the Brexit vote, 2016 was full of surprises to say the least. So what’s in store for 2017? While politics is fascinating, the night sky also has a host of exciting events up its sleeve.

As for what will be getting astronomers all fired up in 2017… From milestone space missions to meteor showers, don’t forget to look up!

37th time lucky for Juno’s Jupiter mission

This year, NASA’s Juno spacecraft will set its sights on Jupiter, for the 37th time. It’s on a mission to unravel the mysteries that lie beyond the clouds of the gas giant, and penetrate the dangerous radiation belts that encircle the planet. If successful, astronomers will get a unique glimpse at the chemical composition and structure of the planet.

SpaceX test launch – Take 2

Unfortunately, 2016 wasn’t a glowing year for SpaceX. While the company did manage to land its Falcon 9 first stage rocket, an explosion took place on the launch pad which sparked fears of ferrying a human crew to the International Space Station. In 2017 SpaceX will make a second attempt, and continue to pioneer interstellar exploration.

Americans in for an eclipse

Come August 21, the USA will be treated to a solar eclipse that will be visible across the entire continental belt. Space enthusiasts can follow the event using NASA’s super accurate moon model that actively tracks the eclipse’s path.

TESS takes to the skies

Targeting 200,000 ultra-bright stars, the TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) mission will attempt to hone in on 500 earth-sized planets, with the hope of unearthing alien life. Earth-based telescopes will be used to assess atmospheric makeup, and determine if conditions are able to support living organisms.

China’s Mission to the Moon

China is rapidly making a name for itself in the space exploration sphere, and 2017 will see the republic crystallise this reputation. This year the Chinese plan to launch the unmanned Chang'e 5 craft, with the goal of harvesting and returning 2kg of lunar regolith to Earth.

Cassini farewells Saturn

For two decades, the Cassini spacecraft has been reconnoitring Saturn. On September 15, it will end its epic stint and fly headfirst into the red hot atmosphere of the gas giant.

Geminids Meteor Shower

2017 is set to end in style, with the Geminids Meteor Shower reaching its climax in the early hours of December 14. Triggered by asteroid 3200 Phaethon, the phenomenon will be visible across the globe, in the constellation of the Gemini.

As space scientists explore the sky, there are also cutting edge developments taking place here on Earth. ‘Resurgence in Fluorinated Chiral Polysaccharide Phases for Supercritical Fluid Chromatography’ spotlights the revolutionary new techniques being used to determine whether fluorinated phases are suitable for chiral SFC applications, with the goal of addressing separation inefficiencies for halogenated compounds.


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