NASA's agenda for 2023: From OSIRIS-REX to Earth Information Center
NASA had an eventful 2022, headlined by the successes of the Artemis 1 and DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) missions. This year, the US space agency has a slew of activities planned which include revealing the crew of Artemis 2, the asteroid sample-return mission OSIRIS-REX and more. "We're never going to stop exploring the unknown in air and space," said Bill Nelson, NASA administrator.
The space agency will disclose crew members of Artemis 2
NASA will reveal the crew list of its upcoming Artemis 2 mission, which will be the first crewed expedition in the Artemis series. The space agency will also unveil the spacesuit that will be donned by the astronauts for the moon mission. The previous mission—Artemis 1—was an uncrewed test flight of the Orion spacecraft and the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.
OSIRIS-REx is expected to return to Earth on September 24
OSIRIS-REx (Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security -Regolith Explorer) will be NASA's first asteroid-sample return mission. The spacecraft successfully collected samples from asteroid Bennu in October 2020 and is expected to make a parachute-guided entry into the Utah Desert on September 24, 2023. As part of its extended mission termed OSIRIS-APEX (OSIRIS-Apophis Explorer), it will visit the near-Earth asteroid Apophis in 2029.
NASA is also developing sustainable aviation solutions
Apart from focusing on space exploration, NASA is also working on ways to improve air travel. X-57 is the agency's first all-experimental electric aircraft. Instead of utilizing aviation fuel, the aircraft will use rechargeable, lithium-ion batteries. X-59, the supersonic plane of NASA's Quesst (Quiet Supersonic Technology) mission, developed by Lockheed Martin, will feature innovative technology to reduce loud sonic sounds.
TEMPO will visualize Earth from the geostationary orbit
The Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO) mission will monitor air pollution, covering most of North America, on an hourly basis with high spatial resolution. From the geostationary orbit, the satellite will observe the tropospheric ozone, ozone precursors, aerosols, and clouds which will help improve the prediction of air quality and assess climate change. It will take off aboard SpaceX's Falcon-9 rocket.
The Psyche mission might take off this year
The Boeing Crew Flight Test (CFT), which is the first CST-100 Starliner flight with astronauts, to the International Space Station (ISS) is expected to take off in April this year. The Psyche mission, designed to explore a unique metal-rich asteroid between Mars and Jupiter, might take off this year. This will be the "first-ever exploration of a world made largely of metal."
The Earth Information Center will be launched on April 23
NASA will launch the Earth Information Center on April 23. The Center will provide a complete view of Earth and will provide insights into the planet's changes which include rising sea levels and greenhouse gas emissions. The data will be available for public use.