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“NASA Takes Giant Leaps on the Journey to Mars, Eyes Our Home Planet and the Distant Universe, Tests Technologies and Improves the Skies Above in 2014,” these are the words used by NASA to describe the ending year.
We could say that 2014 has been a year with historical achievements when it comes to science and missions in the outer space. NASA has released a press release with highlights of 2014, and we must admit, it’s pretty amazing. There is no doubt the discoveries made this year will lead to world changing accomplishments.
The most significant step for 2014 has to be the scientific discoveries and the testing of cutting edge technologies created to explore Mars. But also the technical progress in developing the air travel of the future.
“We moved forward on our work to create quieter, greener airplanes and develop technologies to make air travel more efficient; and we advanced our study of our changing home planet, Earth, while increasing our understanding of others in our solar system and beyond.”said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.
The testing of Orion, the first space capsule that might take humans to Mars, has proven to be a huge success. Let’s not forget about the cutting edge telescope that found an “Earth replica” planet.
In September NASA announced that astronauts will travel on American spacecraft, to and from the Internationl Space Station. The contracts have been done trough NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. The crews will travel on Boeings, SpaceX, CST-100 and Crew Dragon spacecraft, to arrive to the space station and to return. The main purpose of this plan is to end the United States become more independent and stop relying on Russia by 2017.
NASA’s goal is for the United States commercial companies to provide access to the low orbit of the Earth, while researchers are preparing space missions with Orion and the Space launch System rocket, a rocket meant to change human explorations beyond Earth’s orbit. The construction of the rocket has started at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.
Mars has been a planet studied for the last 40 years, with great breakthroughs in 2014. In July, NASA announced the Mars Rover 2020, an improved version of the Curiosity Rover. The 2020 Rover is based on a technology that will help take Mars explorations to the next level.
On September 21st MAVEN, another exploration robot, has entered Mars’s orbit successfully. The machine will start studying the Red’s Planet upper atmosphere.
This month NASA announced that the Curiosity Rover has traced methane and organic molecules on Mars, discovery which raised a lot of questions about the planet’s present and past chemical state.
Image Source: BBC