NASA’s Year-End Review: What Happened At NASA In 2016 : Space : Science World Report
This year has been remarkable for NASA, and the space station has looked back on its record-breaking milestones in 2016.
According to SpaceRef, NASA’s year-end review started off with NASA astronaut and Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornieko’s historic one-year mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS) in March.
2016 has also been a good year for NASA’s commercial partners, SpaceX and Orbital ATK, which delivered tons of cargo to the ISS as support to the agency’s various science experiments and technology demos in preparation for its mission to Mars. One of the technology demonstrations delivered to the ISS was the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module or BEAM in April.
In June, NASA’s Space Launch System successfully launched a rocket to prepare for the first uncrewed test flight of the Orion spacecraft in 2018.
This year has also been significant for NASA’s exploration of the solar system and beyond. The Juno spacecraft arrived at Jupiter on July 4, while the OSIRIS-REx, which was America’s first attempt to retrieve space rocks from an asteroid, was launched in September.
In February, NASA installed the final primary mirror segment of its upcoming James Webb Space Telescope — the most powerful telescope ever developed. The space telescope will be launched in 2018.
Meanwhile, 1,284 new exoplanets were verified by NASA’s Kepler mission in May. This mission was NASA’s first attempt to discover potentially habitable planets with sizes almost like the Earth’s.
While NASA spends billions of dollars on its explorations to discover the next planet humans could live in, the space agency’s Earth Science division also launched its campaign to improve human life on Earth. Through a series of field studies and future high-precision satellite probes, scientists have begun conducting further research on how the Earth is changing.