While Russia failed to land on the moon this year, India succeeded in doing so through a series of missions While Russia failed to land on the moon this year, India succeeded in doing so through a series of missions

While Russia failed to land on the moon this year, India succeeded in doing so through a series of missions

While Russia failed to land on the moon this year, India succeeded in doing so through a series of missions

It seems that the year 2023 has been busy in the field of space exploration, from distant space missions, to determining the times of solar storms, through to the introduction of artificial intelligence systems to discover life in probes of the deep universe.

Below we review the most prominent discoveries related to cosmic and space sciences that occurred this year.

This year there were several missions to study the Sun , the first of which was for the European Space Agency, where the Euclid satellite was launched towards a point between the Sun and the Earth called “L2” by a Falcon 9 rocket on July 1. The satellite monitors the Sun and distant galaxies to study dark matter and dark energy.

On September 2, the Indian Space Agency launched the Aditya Probe, which aims to study the dynamics of the solar corona, coronal mass emission, and the evolution of the solar corona.

On September 6, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency launched the X-ray space telescope, whose mission is to study the Sun and the formation of the structure of the universe, outflows from the nuclei of galaxies, and dark matter.

On the other hand, researchers from the Center of Excellence for Space Sciences in India discovered a new relationship between the sun's magnetic field and the sunspot cycle, and this discovery could help predict the peak date of solar activity.

Our star, the Sun, consists of hot ionized gas known as plasma. Massive plasma flows and heat combine to form magnetic fields inside the Sun, which appear on the surface in the form of dark spots.

Sometimes solar magnetic fields cause violent events that lead to the birth of solar storms. These storms emit high-energy radiation and project huge amounts of magnetized plasma into outer space.

These storms can cause severe damage to satellites, electrical power and communications networks when they head toward Earth, and this discovery opens a new window to predict the timing and intensity of the peak of solar cycles and the amount of weather fluctuations they cause.

Study of the moon
Russia has not sent a probe to the surface of the moon since the Luna 24 probe in 1976. Last August, Russia launched the Luna 25 lander aboard a Soyuz 2 rocket from the Vostochny spaceport in Far East Russia.

The Luna 25 mission was to land near the Boguslavsky crater in the southern polar region of the moon to study the components of the outer polar atmosphere of the moon, but as soon as the vehicle left orbit, it crashed after a technical defect occurred.

While Russia failed to land on the moon, India succeeded in doing so via the Vikram lander. This India mission, called Chandrayaan 3, is part of a series of lunar exploration missions developed by the Indian Space Research Organization.

Chandrayaan 3 was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Center on July 14, 2023, and the spacecraft entered the lunar orbit on August 5, and the vehicle landed near the south pole of the moon.

In the same context, on September 6, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency launched the “Slem” lunar lander, an intelligent lander whose mission is to explore the moon and carry inside a small rover and a space telescope.

Spaceflight and space tourism
In the field of human spaceflight, two records have been broken for the number of people in space and in orbit simultaneously. On May 25 of this year, there were 20 people in space at the same time, 11 on board the International Space Station, 3 on the Chinese Tiangong Station, and 6 on the VSS Unity spacecraft of the American company Virgin Galactic.

Five days later, on May 30, the record for the number of people in orbit at one time was broken, with 17 people in orbit at one time; 6 on the Chinese Tiangong Station, 7 on the International Space Station, in addition to 4 from the Axiom 2 flight crew also on the International Space Station.

It is noteworthy that the Axiom 2 flight was managed by Axiom Space in cooperation with the Saudi Space Authority, and was launched aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Its mission was to research cancer, cloud seeding, and microgravity in space. This mission included the first Saudi astronaut to reach the International Space Station.

Space research
Dark matter and dark energy:
The existence of dark matter is a long-standing mystery in our universe, as dark matter makes up about a quarter of the universe, and its existence has been confirmed through a series of astrophysical and cosmological observations. The existence of dark matter has been a question that high-energy scientists and astrophysicists around the world have been investigating for decades.

The first person to hypothesize the existence of this matter was Dutch astronomer Jan Oort in 1932, but the study of dark matter began in the 1970s and 1980s. The most recent studies that I discussed were based on stunning recent images taken by the James Webb Space Telescope.

This year, in July, the European Space Agency launched a satellite called Euclid to study dark matter and dark energy in the universe.

Laser reaches Earth from deep space:
NASA's Psyche probe launched the first experiment to send data to Earth via laser beams. The probe - which was heading to study an asteroid located between Mars and Jupiter - sent its data to Earth via a laser beam from a distance of 16 million kilometers, and it reached the Hale Telescope at the Palomar Observatory of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California.

The laser can transmit data at a speed ranging between 10 and 100 times the speed of traditional radio wave systems used by NASA in other missions.

If this experiment is fully successful within the next two years, it could be the future basis of technology used to communicate with humans exploring Mars.

NASA called this experiment “ First Light ,” and said in a statement, “Achieving First Light is one of many important milestones in the coming months, paving the way toward higher data transfer rate communications capable of sending scientific information, high-definition images, and video streaming to support "The next giant leap for humanity."

Discovery of pulsars:
The US Naval Research Laboratory, in cooperation with the Fermi International Giant Telescope Corporation, announced the discovery of nearly 300 gamma-ray pulsars. This achievement comes after 15 years of Fermi telescopes observing the universe.

Pulsars form when massive stars burn through their fuel supply and become unable to resist the internal pull of their gravity, resulting in the collapse of the star into a dense, magnetized neutron star.

The rotating magnetic fields of these stars send out beams of gamma rays, the most energetic form of light. According to Fermi specialists, our understanding of these strange stars enables us to use them as cosmic clocks.

Exploration of Jupiter and return of samples of planet Bennu:
In April 2023, the European Space Agency sent the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, or JUICE , to Jupiter.

The probe will reach orbit around Jupiter in 2031, and will then make detailed observations of the three large ocean-carrying moons of the gas giant. These observations will allow astronomers to study the three moons, as well as Jupiter’s environment, in unprecedented detail. This will be the first time a spacecraft has orbited them. About another moon in the solar system other than our own.

In another context, NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft returned to Earth after collecting samples from the rocks of the asteroid Bennu. The vehicle was launched in 2016, arrived in Bennu in October 2020, and returned with samples in September of this year 2023.

Bennu is a small asteroid compared to other asteroids in the solar system, as it is about 500 meters wide, but its approximate age that prompted scientists to study it is estimated at more than 4.5 billion years.
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