The last time humans set foot on the moon was in December 1972. But NASA plans to return, with the help of the Canadian Space Agency and the European Space Agency, among others.
The new program is called Artemis, and is to bring humans back to the moon, including the first woman to get there. The mission is divided into two phases. Artemis 1 – an unmanned flight around the moon – is due to take off in the spring, after some delay.
The new Orion capsule and the European service module will be placed on NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), its most powerful rocket.
Scientists and engineers will monitor the performance of the spacecraft to prepare Artemis 2, which will be the first manned flight to circle the moon. This phase is scheduled for May 2024, and a Canadian astronaut will be on hand (New window).
The Russians are also planning to send a spacecraft – the Luna 25 – to the moon, which they have not done since 1976. The spacecraft, unmanned, is due to take off this spring, land in an area of the moon’s South Pole, and collect data on ice that is below the surface.
Another visitor to Mars
Russia and the European Space Agency are also planning a mission to the moon with ExoMars 2022, which is scheduled to take off on September 20 and land in June 2023.
The spacecraft is due to join the Trace Gas Orbiter, which took off in 2016, to attempt to determine if there has ever been life on the Red Planet.
The mission includes a rover, named Rosalind Franklin in honor of a scientist who helped discover the structure of theDNA, and a Russian platform called Kazachok.
A SpaceX launch
Another event to watch will be SpaceX’s SN20 launch in March. SN20, which CEO Elon Musk hopes one day will carry passengers to Mars, will attempt to complete the Earth tour before falling back near Hawaii.
It will be installed on the rocket Super Heavy, forming a structure 120 meters high on take-off.
The dance of the planets
Planets – yet separated by millions of kilometers in space – sometimes come closer in our skies.
On March 25, Venus, Mars and Saturn will all be visible low in the sky to the east, before sunrise.
And on June 24, no less than five planets – all of those visible to the naked eye – will align early in the morning. Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn can be observed before sunrise.
On the night of May 15-16, a total lunar eclipse will be visible across the country, but not necessarily in its entirety.
It will be entirely visible in eastern Manitoba, while in the west it will have started during moonrise.
Another total lunar eclipse will take place on November 8. It will be visible in its entirety in western Canada, particularly in British Columbia, Alberta, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories. In the east, the moon will set as the eclipse sets in motion.
There will be no solar eclipse visible from Canada this year.
The annual meeting of the Perseids will take place from July 14 to 1er September, when a high number of shooting stars are expected to be visible in the night sky.
The best nights to see them should be August 11-13. Unfortunately, this coincides with the full moon, so only the brightest objects will be visible.
Finally, the Geminids will be visible from November 19 to December 24.
This meteor shower is richer than the Perseids, but the cold and cloudy weather can put off observers. The most intense night of activities will be December 13-14, but the moon will be almost full.
With information from CBC’s Nicole Mortillaro News