COVID-19 was the focus of scientific research and the science public during 2020, and, with social divergences, many scientific tasks in other areas have been delayed, either because of closure or lack of funding; this year, however, has been remarkable for astronomy and space science.
A new space age
For example, one of the most famous events of this year was SpaceX, on May 31, sending NASA astronauts Dog Harley and Bob Benken to the International Space Station in safety. SpaceX became the first private company in history to carry astronauts into space.
This was a pilot trip; but in mid-November, the company was able to conduct its first official trip to the station with 4 astronauts, and by 2024 the company might be able to meet NASA’s needs and missions to the moon, and then to Mars.
Life on Venus
As for last September, a joint international research team declared that it was able – for the first time – to find chemical signs indicating that there may be life on Venus, after it was just predictions for decades.
Phosphine gas, detected in large quantities in the atmosphere of the planet, is formed on Earth because of the existence of living organisms, either because of human activity or also some types of bacteria, and scientists do not know any chemical method of production on Venus, leading them to assume accurate images of life on its surface.
Gaia in the Milky way
One of the most important discovered in 2020 relates to the achievements of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Space Telescope “Gaia”, the most important of which was in June the construction of a historical sequence, which is the most accurately yet in cosmology, of our track of adoption within 13 billion years ago. This will contribute to a better understanding of the future of our galaxy, and the nature of galaxies in general.
This December, the telescope released a new data package, sufficient to adopt the most accurate roadmap possible for the Milky way now, with information about 1.8 billion stars, with exceptional precision in positioning them similar to a 1,000-kilometer radius.
On the other hand, the announcement by the Japanese Space Agency that its mission “Hayapusa-2” was successful in sending isolated and well-preserved samples of the Ryugu soil and rocks to Earth was one of the most important achievements of 2020.
Riogo is located about 300 million kilometers from the earth, believed to be about 4.5 billion years old, this means that its substance may carry some secrets that make the solar system in its first moments, and perhaps through these samples, scientists can understand the origins of life in the solar system. This type of space flight will not stop.
The NASA-based Osiris Rex first came into contact with the Bennu asteroid last October, and took its first push of samples. Like the Heposa-2, the Osteras will carry her eyes to the ground in several years.
Nobel for astronomy and space
But the top of 2020’s scientific achievements in astronomy and space science were, of course, awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for the second time in a row, with British University of Oxford’s Roger Benrose receiving half the award for theoretical achievement in understanding black holes.
Renard Ginzel of the German Max Planck Institute and the University of California, and Andrea Jays of the American University of California, both received half the other award for their experimental achievements in the same range.