Meteor showers, big rockets and asteroid encounters: What to expect in space in 2018 – Technology & Science

Space and astronomy brought us some pretty exciting stories in 2017, from the solar eclipse, to the discovery of seven planets orbiting another star that could be the best place to look for life. Though there’s no way of knowing what discoveries are to come, here are some interesting space stories to look forward to in 2018.

Big rocket

Not since final launch of the Saturn V in 1973 — the rocket that took astronauts to the moon — has there been a rocket as powerful as the highly anticipated Falcon Heavy. SpaceX, a private space company, has scheduled the first test of the colossal rocket for some time in January.

The Falcon Heavy is the rocket that SpaceX CEO Elon Musk plans to send to the moon or Mars. As well, at some time in 2018, a pair of private citizens are supposedly going to blast off on top of this rocket to orbit the moon.

As if a private company sending the largest rocket since the Apollo era wasn’t enough, then there’s the payload. Musk said he plans to launch a “midnight cherry Tesla Roadster” into an Earth-Mars orbit around the sun. Why? Because he can.

It’s also interesting to note that the test launch of this rocket will be from launch pad 39A, the same pad from which the first astronauts to walk on the moon departed.

Lunar eclipse

While it won’t be as spectacular as the partial solar eclipse that graced Canada in 2017, the sun and moon will once again do a celestial dance. 

This time, instead of the moon coming between Earth and the sun, it’s a sun-Earth-moon alignment. On Jan. 31, the full moon will glide through Earth’s shadow, a result of the sun being directly behind the planet and casting a shadow into space. As the moon moves, it enters the penumbra (Earth’s fainter outer shadow) and the umbra (the darkest part of the shadow). 

We get a lunar eclipse when the moon passes through Earth’s shadow. (Shutterstock/Designua)

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