Space Exploration in 2024: New Missions, Discoveries, and the Quest for Mars
By Adedayo Ebenezer Oyetoke Published on: November 23rd 2023 | 2 mins, 316 words Views: 104
The next year promises to be an exciting one for space exploration as both government agencies and private companies push the boundaries of what's possible. 2024 could see major milestones in space science and humanity's ongoing mission to the Red Planet.
NASA's Artemis Program
NASA aims to return humans to the Moon by 2024 through the Artemis program. The first uncrewed Artemis I mission is slated for late 2022, testing the massive Space Launch System rocket. Artemis II will fly astronauts in lunar orbit in 2024. NASA also plans to build the Lunar Gateway - a small space station orbiting the Moon to support future lunar exploration and Mars missions.
Mars Sample Return
The Mars 2020 Perseverance rover has been collecting samples to be retrieved and returned to Earth by future missions, the first leg of which could launch in 2024. Analyzing these first samples directly on Earth would allow more sophisticated scientific study than remote rovers can provide. This multi-year effort represents a major milestone in humanity's exploration of the Red Planet.
Private Spaceflight Advances
Companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic continue pushing the boundaries of private spaceflight. SpaceX's Starship could make its first orbital test flight in 2024, advancing plans for crewed Mars missions. Blue Origin aims to begin regular suborbital space tourism flights. Meanwhile, Virgin Galactic hopes to ramp up the cadence of launches carrying private astronauts.
New Discoveries in Our Solar System
Orbital missions like NASA's Juno at Jupiter and New Horizons at Kuiper Belt objects continue making surprising discoveries about our cosmic neighborhood. 2024 may see new insights into the formation and evolution of the planets, moons and small bodies throughout the solar system. Exciting findings could reshape our understanding of Earth's place in the cosmos.
With ambitious government programs and innovative private ventures, 2024 promises to be a landmark year for space exploration. Steady progress moves humanity ever closer to realizing the long-held dream of missions to Mars and beyond.