Science & Technology

NASA’s Astronomical and Historic 2022 – A Major Step for Humanity [Video]

The James Webb Space Telescope is a space observatory to see further into the Universe than ever before. In July 2022 it became fully operational for science and released its first full-color images and spectroscopic data. Credit: ESA/ATG medialab

In 2022, we helped humanity take a major step toward a permanent presence in deep space …

We captured new awe-inspiring views of the universe …

And we witnessed a first-of-its-kind mission hit its mark …

Here’s a look back at those and other things we did this year at NASA.

In 2022, NASA launched their mega Moon rocket for the first time – sending the uncrewed Orion spacecraft around the Moon, they kicked off a new era in astronomy with record-breaking new imagery from the Webb Space Telescope, they moved an asteroid in humanity’s first-ever planetary defense demonstration and much more. Here’s a look back at those and other things they did, this year @NASA!

NASA’s Space Launch System rocket carrying the Orion spacecraft launches on the Artemis I flight test, Wednesday, November 16, 2022, from Launch Complex 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA’s Artemis I mission is the first integrated flight test of the agency’s deep space exploration systems: the Orion spacecraft, Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, and ground systems. SLS and Orion launched at 1:47 a.m. ET from Launch Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

*Artemis I Mega Rocket Launches Orion to Moon

*Splashdown! NASA’s Orion Returns to Earth After Historic Moon Mission

“And liftoff of Artemis I …” — Launch commentator

One of the biggest NASA moments of 2022 was the historic launch of our Artemis I flight test around the Moon. About 26 days later, we celebrated the mission’s return to Earth …

“Splashdown! The latest chapter of NASA’s journey to the Moon comes to a close!” — Mission Commentary

*NASA Pursues Astronaut Lunar Landers for Future Artemis Moon Missions

We also asked companies for proposals to develop and demonstrate astronaut Moon landers that can provide Moon landing services beyond the Artemis III mission.

*NASA Identifies Candidate Regions for Landing Next Americans on Moon

And we identified 13 candidate landing regions near the South Pole of the Moon, each with multiple potential landing sites for Artemis III.

*Webb Telescope’s First Images of Unseen Universe

We released the Webb Space Telescope’s first full-color images and spectroscopic data, showcasing Webb’s ability to capture crisp, new views of our solar system and beyond.

*DART Mission Impact Changed Asteroid’s Motion in Space

We successfully demonstrated the first-ever planetary defense test – crashing a spacecraft into a moving asteroid, altering that asteroid’s path of travel.

*Sample Tube Drop Spot Established on Mars

And we helped establish the location for a “drop off spot” on Mars where rock and soil samples can be retrieved by a future mission and returned to Earth for study.

NASA astronaut and Expedition 68 Flight Engineer Frank Rubio is pictured during a spacewalk tethered to the International Space Station’s starboard truss structure. Behind Rubio, the last rays of an orbital sunset penetrate Earth’s thin atmosphere as the space station flew 258 miles above the African nation of Algeria. Credit: NASA

*NASA Authorization Act of 2022

2022 was the 22nd continuous year with humans aboard the International Space Station. Congress passed a new law extending NASA’s work on the station through at least September 2030.

*NASA and Boeing Complete Uncrewed Flight Test to Station

Other human spaceflight activities from 2022 include commercial partner Boeing’s uncrewed flight test to and from the station …

*Space Station Crew Rotation Flights Continue

Continued crew rotation flights to the space station by partner SpaceX

*Vande Hei Sets U.S. Spaceflight Record

NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei’s U.S. record-setting stay in orbit …

*First Private Astronaut Mission to Space Station

And the first NASA-enabled private astronaut mission to the space station …

Illustration of Low-Earth Orbit Flight Test of an Inflatable Decelerator (LOFTID). Credit: NASA

*CAPSTONE Arrives to Orbit at the Moon

Our space technology activities in 2022 included our CAPSTONE spacecraft’s arrival at the Moon to “test drive” the same unique orbit that the Gateway lunar outpost will fly.

*LOFTID Inflatable Heat Shield Test a Success

We successfully demonstrated an inflatable heat shield that could help land heavier payloads on worlds with atmospheres, including Mars, and Earth.

*Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) Began Operations

And the agency’s first two-way laser relay communications system began demonstrations. It could dramatically expand communications capabilities for future space exploration.

EMIT observes Earth from outside the International Space Station. EMIT data is delivered to the NASA Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC) for use by other researchers and the public. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

*Launched EMIT Earth Science Instrument

Work and missions that focused on Earth this past year include a new space station instrument that studies how atmospheric mineral dust affects the planet’s temperature.

*Released Concept for Earth Information Center

We also released the first Earth Information Center concept to provide the information, resources, and tools decision-makers need to respond to climate change.

*Landsat Turns 50

And we helped celebrate the Landsat program’s 50 years of imaging Earth. The program has captured over 10 million images since it began.

This artist’s concept of NASA’s X-59 QueSST jet reflects the airplane’s final configuration following years of research and design engineering. The jet is now under construction by Lockheed Martin at the company’s Skunk Works facility in Palmdale, California. Credit: Lockheed Martin

*Jet Engine Installed on NASA’s X-59

On the aeronautics research front, our quiet supersonic X-59 aircraft was outfitted with the engine that will power it to speeds up to Mach 1-point-4.

*X-57 Maxwell Aircraft Gets Powered Up

Lithium-ion battery packs installed in our all-electric X-57 Maxwell aircraft successfully powered the plane’s motors.

*Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) Mission

And we continued partnerships to develop a system to safely transport people and cargo using revolutionary new aircraft that are only just now becoming possible.

NASA names two national winners for the Lunabotics Junior contest: Lucia Grisanti, for grades K-5 and Shriya Sawant for the grades 6-12 were selected from approximately 2,300 submitted designs of Moon rovers. Credit: Future Engineers

*Lunabotics Junior Contest

NASA STEM-related activities in 2022 included the Lunabotics Junior Contest, which featured our Artemis missions. We announced the two national winners of the competition.

*Vice President Hosts NASA for Family STEM Event

An event hosted by the Vice President featured NASA STEM education activities, a special screening of the Disney Pixar film, “Lightyear,” and several NASA astronauts.

*NASA Continued Spanish Language Communications in 2022

“¡Despegue!” — Spanish Language Launch Commentator

And we continued sharing knowledge about NASA missions and activities through a variety of Spanish-language social media accounts and websites in 2022.

Credit: NASA

“We choose to go to the Moon …” — JFK

*The 60th Anniversary of JFK’s Rice University Speech

The 60th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s historic speech at Rice University was one of the most notable NASA-related anniversaries. The speech recommitted the nation to the goal of landing astronauts on the Moon and returning them safely to Earth.

“President Kennedy knew that vision would be hard – not easy. And today, in “Space City,” the “Artemis Generation” stands ready. Ready to return humanity to the Moon and then to take us further than ever before – to Mars.” — Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator

Year in and year out, the work we do that extends our reach into the cosmos, results in breakthrough discoveries, and turns science fiction into science fact is “work done” to benefit you!

Those are some of the NASA activities from 2022. For more details, visit nasa.gov/2022. Thanks for watching. Please have a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season, and we look forward to sharing more NASA highlights with you in 2023!

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