The past year has witnessed tremendous advancements in humanity’s capability in space exploration, and 2019 promises to be no different. Let’s take a look at the latest space news of January 2019.
On January 3rd, 2019, China’s Chang’e-4 mission will make the first landing on the far side of the Moon. The far side is always blocked from direct communications from Earth and required relays to operate. Chang’e-4 will explore the geological history of the Lunar farside ahead of a planned sample return expected in the next year.
On January 1st, 2019, NASA’s New Horizons mission made a flyby of the Kuiper Belt object nicknamed Ultima Thule. This icy body is the farthest object ever explored by a spacecraft flyby. Over the coming weeks, images and data of this object will be beamed to Earth to help us understand the outermost parts of our Solar System.
“Supermoon” comes with the January 21 full moon, which is, moreover, to stage a total lunar eclipse. It was visible from North and South America and western parts of Europe and Africa; unfortunately, most parts of Africa, Europe, and Asia could only be able to see a partial lunar eclipse. This supermoon on January 21 ushers in the first in a series of three full supermoons falling on January 21, February 19 and March 21, 2019. Of these, the February 19th full moon showcases the closest and largest full supermoon of 2019.
NASA’s Juno Mission to Jupiter detected active volcanic plumes on the moon of Io on December 21, 2018. Io’s elliptical orbit close to Jupiter heats up the moon and makes it the most active body in the Solar System.
A SpaceX’s first uncrewed test flight Falcon 9 rocket launched the Crew Dragon spacecraft from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to the International Space Station.
India launched the Chandrayaan-2 mission to the moon India’s second lunar exploration mission on January 31. It was lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India.
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