For many reasons, 2020 could be a pivotal year for society and science Astronomers and space agencies have spent the year dealing with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic They have also made inroads in new technology and said goodbye to several important projects.
This year has seen a new era of sample recovery missions, demonstrations against a telescope, an incredible visit of a dazzling comet and the “ great conjunction ” of Saturn and Jupiter
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The coronavirus pandemic has affected many sectors of astronomy and spaceflight Universities, space agencies and on-going projects have adapted to face the new reality as countries around the world take action to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 respiratory disease Classrooms have gone virtual, astronomical conferences have changed format and higher education institutions have prepared for financial problems caused by the virus's effect on the economy
Social distancing measures have affected the field in several ways Space agencies like NASA have ordered their employees to work from home Projects like the Event Horizon Telescope, who captured the very first photo of a black hole, rescinded his observations of 2020 The satellites continued their observations, showing desolate streets and short-term changes in emissions caused by human activity Social movements like protests against the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope in Hawaii have also stopped to protect community elders from disease.
A spacecraft like NASA's OSIRUS-REx asteroid sample collection mission also had to delay its most important maneuver – material recovery from the asteroid Bennu – due to limitations caused by virus mitigation efforts on Earth.
The contagious and deadly nature of the virus was evident to space agencies The 6 May, Russia's human spaceflight program chief died just weeks after testing positive for coronavirus in late April 2020, engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California have developed a new ventilator called VITAL in response to limited ventilators for COVID-19 patients
This year, la National Science Foundation (NSF) bid farewell to Puerto Rico’s iconic Arecibo Observatory after two major cable failures led to the collapse of the radio telescope The old structure of 57 years old was once the largest radio parabolic telescope in the world, and researchers used his abilities to make important breakthroughs in astronomy. The Arecibo Observatory has also served as a dramatic backdrop for films like “Contact” and “Goldeneye”
The facility has suffered two cable failures this year, then early December, the platform suspended above the radio antenna collapsed
The news about Arecibo’s structural damage and subsequent decommissioning was also disheartening for the local community.Field visits to the visitor center are a “ Rite of passage ” for Puerto Rican children
In October 2020, NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission on the asteroid Bennu has managed to store pieces of space rock to bring to Earth. In December 7, Ryugu asteroid samples collected by JAXA's Hayabusa2 mission reach Japanese scientists A capsule with the rock material descended into Australia's Woomera Forbidden Zone in December 5, and the spacecraft returned to the solar system for an extended mission The predecessor of this spacecraft, Hayabusa, was the first mission to bring parts of an asteroid back to Earth
The Chinese Chang’e Mission 5 also made a sampling appointment with the late moon 2020 The first lunar samples to arrive on Earth were shot down by NASA's Apollo program
Chinese scientists have published an analysis of a strange substance they detected on the other side of the moon The Yutu rover 2 of the Chinese Chang’e Mission 4 found the gel-like substance in July 2019, and this year, Chinese researchers described the material in a new article.
The glassy substance is dark green in color and looks like breach or shattered fragments of minerals that have been cemented together Information about the material has been gleaned from Yutu's panoramic and hazard avoidance cameras 2 and the visible and near infrared spectrometer instrument (VNIS) the rover. The researchers wrote that the material may have formed during an impact or volcanic eruption
In September 14, a team of astronomers announced that they have detected the chemical fingerprint of phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus This compound has been found near microbes on Earth and some people have argued that it could be a biosignature, an indication that perhaps some cloud-high life form of Venus was able to survive the extreme environment of the planet.
Astronomers have detected the chemical signature of phosphine using the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in Hawaii and the Atacama Large Millimeter / submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile The phosphine levels detected puzzled researchers because Venus, like the earth, contains many molecules containing oxygen, which should quickly destroy phosphine
Skeptics are reluctant to make the connection between the signs of life But the discovery nonetheless fascinated people around the world
In February 2020, a new solar mission from the European Space Agency (THAT) and NASA has been launched into space The Solar Orbiter mission is designed to study the sun up close to understand the bubble wrapped around the solar system
The sun influences a region of space called the heliosphere The solar system is inside, and beyond this region lies interstellar space To understand the heliosphere, Solar Orbiter will take a close look at the polar regions of the sun The mission's innovative heat shield can withstand temperatures up to 970 degrees Fahrenheit (520 degrees Celsius)
Native Hawaiians called kia’i, or protectors, continued their protests against the construction of the thirty-meter telescope (TMT) of 160 feet high (49 meters) this year TMT was born in 2003 when a non-profit partnership formed between two California universities and counterparts in Japan, in China, in India and Canada
The kia’i have formed a camp to protest against the start of construction in the summer 2019 White Mountain, they say, is a sacred religious site for Native Hawaiians and TMT would be a massive new addition to the summit which is already populated by a dozen astronomical observatories.
January 30, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope went offline after spending more than 16 years observing the universe The mission team put the spacecraft into permanent hibernation to end the mission; team members believe the spaceship will eventually crash into a debris field
Former Spitzer Project Manager, Suzanne Dodd, stated in a 23 sign on the telescope that he had discovered a “horn of plenty” cosmic details
Spitzer collected data using a technique called spectroscopy This allowed scientists to study the universe using the infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum Scientists used infrared data to learn more about space dust and particles that don't not shine in visible light like stars do, thus providing a more complete picture of the universe.
Comet NEOWISE was discovered in March 2020 by NASA's NEOWISE mission and dazzled viewers on Earth in the weeks following The icy comet approached the sun on 3 July and survived the encounter, allowing sky-watchers to marvel at its awe-inspiring tail as it heads towards the outer solar system. Comet NEOWISE won't be back until 6800 years
In addition to making it more beautiful, the luminosity of the comet allowed astronomers to collect high-quality data on the object NASA officials said the last comet to put on such an impressive sight was Hale-Bopp in 1997
The last spectacular celestial event of 2020 was there “great conjunction” of Saturn and Jupiter in December 21, which was also the date of the northern hemisphere winter solstice
Jupiter and Saturn could be seen side by side in the evening sky shortly after sunset They were only a tenth of a degree apart Their closeness in the sky has not happened for more than 400 years
An astonishing end to this historic year A SkySat planet has captured the great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn – the passage of the night sky closest to the two planets in near 800 and on that note, we went out! Happy holidays from the Planet team picTwittercom / Is4xQTtaId December 23 2020
The conjunctions between these two planets occur about once every two decades, when the earth, Jupiter and Saturn Form a Line Across Space Viewers lucky enough to have a clear sky observing the conjunction might also see the twinkling of Jupiter's Galilean moons
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News – GB – The 10 greatest discoveries and spatial histories of 2020
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