2023 has been a remarkable year for space exploration, with countries and organizations worldwide directing their gaze towards the cosmos. While artificial intelligence has been a hot topic, space agencies like NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory have been making significant strides in space exploration.
Return to the Moon
Last summer, India achieved a historic feat by becoming the fourth country to land a spacecraft on the moon. On August 23, the Indian Space Research Organisation successfully landed the Vikram spacecraft on the moon’s southern pole. This achievement garnered praise from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, marking a proud moment for India’s space endeavors. The Vikram lander also carried a lunar rover to collect valuable samples for scientific analysis.
Advances in Deep Space Communication
In October, NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory launched the Deep Space Optical Communication (DSOC) experiment. This groundbreaking project aimed to test laser-based transmission for enhanced data relay from deep space. DSOC promises higher data transmission rates compared to traditional methods, although challenges related to weather conditions remain a concern.
Monitoring Solar Activity
In November, scientists from George Mason University raised concerns about the impact of increased solar activity, including sunspots and solar flares, on Earth-bound technologies, particularly the internet. With our growing dependence on the internet, this intersection of solar activity and technology poses unique challenges.
Exploring UFOs and Cryptocurrency
In July, the House Oversight Subcommittee on National Security held hearings on UFOs, where military veterans shared their experiences of witnessing unidentified flying objects. This event introduced the concept of “non-human biologics.” Additionally, crypto enthusiasts seized the opportunity to create meme-coins related to the alien hype.
AI’s Role in Space
Artificial intelligence played a pivotal role in astronomy, with scientists using AI to identify and classify supernovae in real-time. The Bright Transient Survey (BTS) bot, trained with millions of historical images, autonomously confirms exploding stars, streamlining research processes.
Vitalik Buterin’s Warning
Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin emphasized the importance of responsible AI development, cautioning that even Mars wouldn’t be safe if a superintelligent AI turned against humanity.
Discovering Mars’ Secrets
A report from Northwestern University revealed intriguing findings about Mars, indicating the presence of a thick layer of “soft, essentially molten rock” around the Martian core.
NASA has ambitious plans for the future, including the Artemis mission in 2024, marking the return of American astronauts to the Moon’s surface. Notably, it will be the first lunar landing by a woman, mission specialist Christina Hammock Koch, and a person of color, pilot Victor Glover. Additionally, the Roman Mission in 2027 will leverage artificial intelligence and digital tools to enhance data accessibility, named after NASA’s pioneering executive, Dr. Nancy Grace Roman, often referred to as the “Mother of Hubble.”
As we bid farewell to 2023, the future of space exploration holds exciting prospects and groundbreaking discoveries.