The conquest of Mars, the fusion of man and computer, electric planes and the fateful battle with global warming. Focus has identified the most anticipated events of 2020 in the world of science and technology
It is difficult to look into the future. In the 1960s, the American chemist and Nobel laureate Glenn Seaborg believed that by 2020 we would be able to breed intelligent species of animals that would do manual labor for us. And 30 years before him, Nikola Tesla predicted that tea and coffee would go out of fashion for a century. Both of these predictions did not come true, but if you look not through the decades, but just a year ahead, the probability of being wrong is less likely. So what are the breakthroughs in the world of science and technology that the coming 2020 is preparing for us?
Destination – space
After the rover Opportunity “died” in a colossal dust storm, only one mobile Curiosity research vehicle remained on the Red Planet. However, this will soon change. In 2020, three new rovers will fly to Mars at once: American, Chinese and European-Russian.
All three missions should fly into one launch window, which will open in July and last for several weeks. They will arrive on Mars in February-March 2021. The rover landing sites are different, but the goals are roughly the same: to study the geology and climate of the planet, collect and analyze samples, and also search for any evidence that life once existed here.
There will be more research vehicles not only on the surface, but also in the orbit of Mars. China, along with the rover, is going to send an orbital probe. He may be accompanied by another newcomer from the United Arab Emirates. In this case, the UAE will become the first Arab country to initiate the study of another planet.
If all missions are crowned with success, then in the near future the flow of information about the Red Planet will increase many times. This is a big step towards Mars, where humanity is going to travel in the coming decades. Given the degree of riskiness of such a mission, any knowledge about this world will not be superfluous.
However, in space there is room not only for science, but also for entertainment. An unusual way of spending leisure time will be provided by NASA, which last year decided to open the International Space Station (ISS) to travelers. The agency plans to take tourists there no more than twice a year, starting from 2020.
“In 2020, the first tourists will be able to spend their holidays on the ISS – $ 58 million per flight plus $ 35 thousand per day”
Of course, such a tour is not a cheap pleasure. NASA estimates a day in the main space stronghold of mankind at $ 35 thousand, and the maximum period for which tourists will be allowed there is 30 days. So the cost of a month on the ISS is over a million dollars. But this is a mere trifle compared to how much future tourists will have to spend on the road. Space in the spacecraft of Boeing or SpaceX, which will deliver people to the ISS, is estimated at about $ 58 million per flight.
However, those wishing to try out an exotic voyage will have a more affordable alternative – suborbital flights from Virgin Galactic. After several successful trials, the construction of a spaceport and a public offering, Richard Branson’s company was bold enough to take the first tourists to the fringes of outer space aboard the SpaceShipTwo. She plans to start this year, but does not name more exact dates. The ship is priced at $ 250,000, but Virgin already has a queue of 600 pre-booked customers.
On the heels of it is Blue Origin, which also claims to be its piece of the nascent space tourism market. She plans to send clients on space flights lasting several minutes, giving them a short-term feeling of weightlessness. To do this, Blue Origin is rolling out the New Shepard system, which has gone through 12 successful test runs. However, Jeffrey Bezos’ company claims that they will not send people on flights until they make sure that everything is working as it should. When exactly this will happen, representatives of Blue Origin do not say, but hope that in 2020.
While Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic open up new travel destinations, other major players in the aerospace industry are preparing to fulfill NASA’s long-held dream of sending astronauts to the ISS without the help of Roskosmos. It was assumed that the Americans will be able to independently send their people from their territory as early as 2019, but SpaceX and Boeing, which are developing passenger ships, have seriously delayed their delivery dates. Both companies intend to fulfill their promises in 2020. True, Boeing recently failed an important test flight of its ship, which means that SpaceX will most likely do it first.
Since we are talking about the creations of Elon Musk, we note that the restless entrepreneur in recent years has collected so many interesting innovative projects that he deserves a separate discussion. SpaceX alone this year has enough worries beyond the production of an orbital “taxi” for NASA.