There is a whole lot of man-made devices in space launched by different countries in their quest for new destinations. 2021 could raise the level of experiments that scientists undertake. Each mission has an agenda of its own related to the Moon or Mars, for a start. Once America, Russia, and Europe used to be leaders and prominent members of this elite group. Today there are others in the fray like China and the UAE and they want to study the alien surfaces for signs of natural resources that could benefit human beings. In 2020, the spotlight was on China.

It brought back lunar rock samples from the Moon. Work of this nature requires a high level of artificial intelligence and robotics along with the ability to harness Renewable Energy.

Times Now News says 2021 could see activities associated with Mars. There are three spacecraft of the US, the UAE, and China eyeing the red planet in 2021. These are Mars 2020, Hope, and Tianwen-1 respectively. Each is on a mission of its own. Mars 2020 is from NASA, while Hope is on the UAE mission and, Tianwen-1 is from China. The Perseverance rover of NASA could land on Mars in February. Hope would enter the orbit of Mars also in February and the Chinese could arrive on the scene in April.

Space is the new frontier to conquer

The space arena of 2020 saw NASA's Curiosity rover sending back images of the Martian surface. This robot has been on Mars, since 2012, working 24X7 and is an example of how technology can eliminate the involvement of human beings in remote locations. 2020 also witnessed the return of an American spacecraft to ferry astronauts to the ISS.

It was the SpaceX Crew Dragon rocket of Elon Musk. He introduced the concept of reusable rockets to bring economy into the operations. NASA is working to fast track its missions to the Moon and Mars. Times Now News provides information on the Perseverance mission. One of its tasks is to collect rock samples from Mars. Another is to release Ingenuity to conduct an aerial survey of the Martian surface.

Ingenuity is a sort of helicopter and would be the third American robot on the red planet after Curiosity and InSight.

America, Russia and space exploration

Preparations for the Artemis-1 mission in on the cards of NASA. The American space agency has plans for a manned mission back to the Moon by 2024. It had put the first man on the Moon and this time, it will put the first woman there. Times Now News adds that the initial step of NASA would be to launch the unmanned SLS rocket-enabled Orion spacecraft around the Moon. Russia also has its programs on the anvil. It wants to return to the Moon after 1976 with its Luna-25 spacecraft. Russia announced possibilities of space tours in 2021 with the launch of a couple of tourists into orbit.

Mars 2020 Perseverance rover - a major space project

According to Canton Rep, all eyes in 2021 would be on Mars 2020 Perseverance rover. It would be another robot on the red planet programmed to search for signs of life. The area identified is the Jerezo Crater where there used to be a lake billions of years ago. The rover would land inside the crater on Feb. 18 and collect rock samples. These would be stored for a future return to Earth. A mini helicopter named Ingenuity would carry out test flights to observe the Martian surface from the skies. America has two robots on Mars right now. These are Curiosity and InSight. The former is exploring the terrain, the latter is digging into the crust.

Canton Rep mentions the growing reliance of NASA on SpaceX. Its Crew Dragon flight was the first American rocket launch since 2011 after scrapping of the shuttle program. NASA had to depend on Russia for transportation of astronauts to and from the ISS. It was a costly affair and Elon Musk came up with a solution in the form of SpaceX Crew Dragon flight.