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Milestones of space exploration in the last few years

We have just a few months (rough and confined, moreover) of this newly started decade to 2020, and NASA has cheered up the quarantine with the so-called Agreement Artemis, pact, which establishes the guidelines for a new stage of lunar exploration.

In the days where on Earth wage a merciless fight against the pandemic COVID-19, not is others look up to the sky and recall ten of the most incredible advances in space occurred in the last ten years.

The Hubble space telescope reveals the beauty of the universe

avances espaciales

The space telescope Hubble is the pretty girl in the world of astronomy, as it provides a treasure trove of seemingly endless data and images of space, especially since you installed the Wide Field Camera 3, high-definition in 2009. In this decade, the data from Hubble have helped to establish the expansion rate of the universe, to measure the ages of the star clusters and taught us more about the dark matter, to name just a few of the accomplishments achieved by the telescope. It also helped to stoke the public’s interest in astronomy to capture some of the images really beautiful deep space.

Visiting bodies in our solar system

Juno

In this decade, has explored more than ever our solar system, reaching the probe Juno to reach Jupiter in 2016, the Dawn making the first visit to the dwarf planet Ceres, in 2015, while the Messenger probe became the first ever to orbit Mercury in 2011, and the mission, New Horizons became not only the first spacecraft to explore Pluto in 2015, but also to visit the farthest object ever explored, Arrokoth, in 2019.

Great End of Cassini

Sonda Cassini

The mission of 19 years of Cassini around Saturn, began in 1997 and was a great success and ended on a similarly spectacular. As the culmination end of the ship before running out of fuel, its orbit was diverted deliberately into the atmosphere of Saturn in 2017, and in its last few minutes the probe is closer to Saturn than any other ship before you, gathering data until the last possible second that they are still being analyzed. The latest move said that the ship was destroyed safely and not pollute the planet nor any of its moons with biological material.

Hayabusa 1 brings the first sample of an asteroid back to Earth

Rover Hayabusa

The spacecraft japanese Hayabusa 1 became the first to bring a sample of an asteroid to Earth in 2010,after having visited a small near Earth asteroid named 25143 Itokawa in 2005. This show has been an invaluable resource for scientists who observe asteroids, as usually, when analyzing meteorites is difficult or impossible to determine its origin.

Voyager 1: the first object made by humans to reach interstellar space

Sonda Voyager

At the end of the 70’s, scientists with a great vision for the future undertook an ambitious project: the launch of the space probe Voyager 1 in the deep space. The probe spent the decades of the seventies and eighties traveling through our solar system, and at the beginning of the year 2000, reached the end of the space. In 2012, the probe crossed the boundary of the space affected by the solar wind of the Sun, called the heliopause and entered the interstellar space, becoming the first manmade object to do so. It is expected that the small probe to continue its mission in the next decade, until the year 2025.

The first detection of gravitational waves

Equipo LIGO

Physicists had predicted for many years, the existence of ripples in space-time called gravitational waves, but no one had been carrycot observe. The instrument built to detect them, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) had been operating since 2002 without success, but in 2015 LIGO finally observed gravitational waves when two black holes (each about 30 times the mass of our Sun) was shocked and sent waves that could be detected from Earth. The team LIGO won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2017 for their efforts.

SpaceX landed his first rocket in orbit

Falcon 9

This decade has seen the expansion in the innovation in the space sector private, led primarily by SpaceX. In 2015, the company landed the first stage of the rocket Falcon 9, which was a major milestone for the development of rockets reusable. Organizations like NASA have considered the rockets reusable since the 1960s, but it was SpaceX which finally has been achieved.

First image of a black hole

Agujero Negro

An international team of astronomers caught the headlines in 2019 when you achieved something previously considered impossible: to take pictures of a black hole. As black holes absorb everything that approaches them, even the light, it was thought that it was impossible to observe them visually. Take the picture of M87 in the galaxy Messier 87 required the use of radio telescopes around the world from Hawaii to Antarctica, what became the Earth on a virtual platform powerful enough to observe for the first time the event horizon of a black hole.

Landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars

Rover Curiosity en Marte

Have come several rovers to Mars since the initial Sojourner in 1997, but none have been as technologically complex as Curiosity, the rover of NASA landed in the crater Gale martian in 2012. Curiosity is much larger and heavier than the rovers precedents, which makes it much more complicated to land. It is equipped with sophisticated instruments that captured images disturbing of the martian landscape, discovering organic molecules in samples of rocks and even found evidence that the planet once could have supported microbial life. The mission is also notable for its impact on the public at large, and in good part thanks to the Twitter account in the first person, absolutely lovely rover.

Completion of the International Space Station

Estación Espacial Internacional

The ISS was finally completed in 2011, allowing humanity to maintain a continuous presence in space during this decade. It is easy for us to take it for granted, but the construction of the ISS is possibly the scientific achievement most important of the TWENTY-first century. This station has not only provided a place for the scientific research in many fields, from experimental drugs against the cancer until the understanding of dark matter and how to make future space missions safer for the astronauts, but is also an achievement truly remarkable international cooperation in a time of general distrust and uncertainty.

*Updated may 18, 2020 by Daniel Matus.

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