The race to Mars: the US, Europe, Russia, China and the UAE are all on their way to the Red Planet in 2020
There are four major missions on the way to Mars this year, with the US, Europe, China and the United Arab Emirates preparing for summer departure.
The flurry of Mars launches is due to the fact that in July 2020 the Earth and Mars are ideally positioned relative to each other for spacecraft to land.
Three of the four missions see robbers land on the planet looking for ancient signs of life, the other mission sees an UAE-built orbiter studying the atmosphere.
There are hundreds of other space missions in 2020 that are not going to Mars, including the first commercially operated flights to the International Space Station.
Hundreds of new satellites will also be sent into space by SpaceX and OneWeb as part of their ‘clusters’.
Here are the major launches to watch out for in 2020.
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NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover will pick up rocks and rocks from the red planet, deposit them in tubes and leave them on the ground for a future mission to bring them back to Earth.
NASA Mars 2020 rover launch
All the talk about Mars will be by July, as robbers destined for the Red Planet are launched by Europe, America and China.
There are multiple missions to Mars in 2020 due to the optimum position in relation to the earth, making journeys shorter than they would otherwise be
NASA launches the Mars 2020 Rover and the Mars Helicopter Scout to collect rock monsters for a possible return to Earth.
The rover leaves for Mars in July or August 2020 from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Base and travels aboard the two-stage Atlas V-541 rocket provided by the United Launch Alliance.
The robot vehicle from NASA passed its ‘driving test’ last week and will only move again when it arrives on the Red Planet in mid-February 2021.
The semi-autonomous vehicle goes in search of signs of ancient microbial life in the Jezero crater, which contains a dried-up lake that was once filled with water.
During his mission, the rover will drive around 650ft per day to collect stones and soil samples, deposit them in small tubes and leave them for later collection.
ESA and Roscosmos ExoMars mission
The European Space Agency (ESA) is working with the Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos) to launch the Rosalind Franklin rover with the help of the Kazakhok lander.
Rosalind Franklin Rover of the European Space Agency is named after the English chemist who helped unravel the secrets of DNA. It will be launched in July 2020
The Rosalind Franklin, formerly known as the ExoMars rover, is named after the English chemist who has made important contributions to understanding the molecular structures of DNA, RNA, viruses, coal and graphite.
Like the NASA Mars 2020 rover, Rosalind Franklin’s goal is to find out if there has ever been life on the Red Planet.
The robber built in Great Britain is going on an eight-month mission that will travel him 30 meters a day as part of his study of the surface of the Red Planet.
The Trace Gas Orbiter, which has been on Mars since October 2016, will act as a relay station for the mission that also includes the Russian stationary service platform.
China’s remote mission Mars Orbiter, Lander and Small Rover
China is sending the Mars Global Remote Sensing Orbiter and Small Rover to the planet – the first Chinese mission to another planet with its own delivery vehicle.
In 2020, China will launch a mission to Mars in which it will deploy a lander and orbit around the Red Planet
The Chinese mission starts aboard the Long Lift rocket in July 2020 on March 5 in search of evidence of past life and to assess the environment of the planet.
On December 27, China successfully tested the Lange on March 5 by launching a test satellite in a low orbit to Earth.
The solar powered rover will carry ground penetrating radar, multi-spectral camera, a laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy instrument and useful charges for detecting the climate and the magnetic environment.
Hope Mars Mission of the UAE
The United Arab Emirates are also planning to launch for the Red Planet. They launch the Hope Mars Mission orbiter on a Japanese rocket in July 2020.
The United Arab Emirates are also launching a probe for Mars in 2020 with which it will study the lower atmosphere on the Red Planet
The probe will study the climate of the Red Planet every day and through seasonal cycles to better assess weather conditions in the lower atmosphere, such as dust storms.
It is the first planetary space mission led by an Arab-Islamic country and will arrive in 2021, the 50th anniversary of the formation of the UAE.
It was built in collaboration with the University of Colorado Boulder, University of California Berkeley and Arizona State University.
All four missions must arrive on the Red Planet in February 2021 and look for old signs of life as part of their objectives.
ESA and NASA launch Solar Orbiter
In February, the European Space Agency launches the Solar Orbiter aboard an Atlas V from Cape Canaveral in the US.
The European Space Agency launches their Solar Orbiter in 2020 in the hope of discovering the secrets of how the ‘Plasma Bubble’ of the sun envelops the solar system
The goal is to help astronomers understand how our star creates and controls the giant bubble of plasma around the entire solar system.
The mission in collaboration with NASA will investigate how this solar-based plasma bubble influences the planets in it.
Once in space, the vessel will repeatedly use the gravity of Venus and the Earth to bring its orbit above the poles of the sun.
ESA says this will offer new perspectives on our star, including the first images of the polar regions of the sun that were ever captured.
NASA Orion lunar spacecraft launch
The first flight of the Orion lunar spacecraft will also take place in 2020 – launch on the new NASA Space Launch System (SLS) rockets.
In 2020, spacecraft fly to the moon in a test flight for the Artemis mission that will eventually see the first woman and the next man stepping on the moon surface
The SLS is being built the largest rocket ever and will take the Artemis astronauts to the moon, launch parts into space for the Lunar Gateway space station and launch future commercial missions for the international space station.
Artemis 1 will spend three weeks in space with the unscrewed Orion vessel, including a six-day retrograde orbit around the moon.
The launch, expected for November 2020, is designed as a test of the module that will bring astronauts back to the moon in 2024.
It is speculated that the SLS and the first unscrewed Artemis flight around the moon could slip until 2021, but it was planned for 2020 at the time of writing.
ISS astronaut launches
It’s not just the rovers and the unscrewed modules that are having fun – there will be crew missions from Virgin Galactic, China, SpaceX and Boeing in 2020.
SpaceX is one of two commercial companies that is expected to start flights to the international space station in 2020 for international astronauts
There will also be a crew change aboard the international space station while Russian and American crew members are transferring to the space station.
The first two round trips will be on board Soyuz vessels in Russia, but NASA says a commercial ship will take the crew to the ISS in May.
The SpaceX Dragon 2 module will bring Expedition 64 and 65 to the station in May as part of the NASA Commercial Crew program – including two American and one Japanese astronaut.
It is the first time a vessel other than the Russian-built Soyuz has been used to take people to the station since the Space Shuttle Atlantis made its last trip in November 2009.
Boeing, who recently had a problem with his first non-bolted Starliner test flights, is expected to also operate the commercial space taxi service to the ISS from 2020
In December 2020, the Boeing Starliner CST-100 expedition brings 66 and 67 crew to the station – including two Americans, a European and a Russian.
That mission will only be the fourth US Spaceflight with a female commander.
The Starliner from Boeing ran into trouble during his non-bolted test flight in December, when a timing glitch meant he could not dock with the ISS.
This will probably have to be repeated before a manned mission, although NASA said that if crew were on board, the problem could have been resolved to allow docking.
Launch of the Chinese space station Tianhe-1
The first part of the Chinese space station will be launched in 2020 – the core module is known as Tianhe-1 or Harmony of the Heavens.
The first module is launched by the heavy-lift rocket Long March 5.
The entire Chinese space station will be assembled in orbit around Earth from pieces launched from Earth from various missions.
The last complete Chinese space station will be about one fifth of the mass of the International Space Station and will be completed and occupied by 2023.
Japanese Hayabusa2 mission for asteroid monster return
We will also bring a number of monsters from an asteroid back to Earth, as the Japanese Hayabusa-2 is expected to drop its monsters of the Ryugu asteroid into the Australian desert.
Scientists hope it will provide clues as to what the solar system looked like at its birth about 4.6 billion years ago
Hayabusa-2 was launched in 2014 by the Japanese space agency JAXA with the aim of bringing samples from under the ground of an asteroid back to Earth.
The probe was sent 186 million miles from the Earth to the asteroid Ryugu, whose name in Japanese means “Dragon Palace.”
The samples should be returned in December, so according to the Japanese space agency JAXA, it could be delayed until 2021 according to any delay.
China’s Chang’e 5 sample return
China is also launching the Chang’e 5 monster return to the moon, where the monster collects and returns to Earth for study.
It will be launched at the end of 2020 on the Long-Heavy rocket from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on the island of Hainan in 2020.
The purpose of the Chinese space agency is to bring back about 4 pounds of lunar monsters from a site near a volcanic formation on the western edge of the near side of the moon.
In another exemplary mission, OSIRIS-Rex from NASA will sample Bennu in July, although the monsters will not return to Earth until after 2021.
Commercial launches including Virgin Galactic
Other launches in 2020 will see hundreds of small communication satellites launched by OneWeb and SpaceX as part of their “constellations.”
Virgin CEO Richard Branson, appeared in an aerial diving simulator while wearing the new Virgin Galactic space clothing system, developed in collaboration with Under Armor. He is expected to fly to the edge of space with his space liner in 2020
These have turned out to be controversial because astronomers claim that they disturb perceptions, creating a line that conceals the view of stars and planets.
Both companies say they work to ensure that their satellites have a minimal impact on the sky when viewed from Earth.
Richard Branson will make his first space flight in 2020 – he will be the first commercial passenger on the first commercial flight of space travel.
The billionaire entrepreneur flies to the space aboard the VSS Unity when the company starts to take passengers out of the atmosphere for the first time.
Launches will take place all over the world – from Russia and the US to China and India – it will be a busy year for space gates.
WHAT DO WE KNOW OF NASA’S MARS 2020 ROVER?
Nasa’s Mars 2020 rover searches for signs of old life on Mars in an effort to help scientists better understand how life on our own planet evolved.
The machine will explore an old river delta in the Jezero crater, which was once filled with a lake of 500 feet (500 meters) deep.
It is believed that the region organized microbial life some 3.5 to 3.9 billion years ago.
Nasa’s Mars 2020 rover (artist’s impression) will look for signs of old life on Mars in an effort to help scientists better understand how life on our own planet evolved
The $ 2.5 billion (£ 1.95 billion) Mars 2020 is scheduled for launch in July 2020 and lands in February 2021.
Mars 2020 is designed to land in the crater and collect samples that are ultimately sent back to Earth for further analysis.
NASA says a second mission will have to fly to the planet and return the monsters, perhaps by the 2020s.
This concept art shows the Mars 2020 rover landing on the red planet via NASA’s sky-crane system