NASA 2020: Mars exploration, Moon landing and more

For NASA, 2019 was a big year. The space agency spent the year studying asteroids up close, prepping soon-to-be-launch missions to Mars and hashed out plans for the Artemis missions that will return astronauts to the lunar surface. 2020? Well, it’s probably going to be even bigger.

NASA is really, really excited about all the stuff it has planned for the upcoming year and it’s taken the time to prepare a bit of a hype video to get the rest of us excited, too. In the span of three minutes, NASA offers us a preview of all the major missions, milestones and new projects that will be kicking off the decade.

“Launching Americans from US soil, sending a new rover to Mars and continuing to prepare for human missions to the moon are just a few of the things NASA has planned for 2020,” NASA says.

Of the many seriously awesome things NASA teases here, the whole “launching astronauts from US soil” thing is one of the biggest. NASA believed that the Commercial Crew program would have already produced results by this point and the fact that both Boeing and SpaceX have yet to deliver a crewed launch vehicle is a major bummer for the space agency.

Boeing’s Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon projects are certainly coming along, but they’ve yet to reach the finish line. Most recently a glitch in the automated clock of the Starliner spacecraft during a test flight prevented it from reaching the International Space Station and docking.

Earlier this year, a Crew Dragon capsule exploded during a static test. Both of these unfortunate realities pushed back the timeline for the Commercial Crew program, but NASA is hopeful that 2020 will be the year that it all comes together.

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