With the Martian winter on the run, Opportunity cruised closer to its 14th anniversary of exploring the Red Planet in December as she deliberated a distinctive “fork in the road” deep in Perseverance Valley and wrapped another record year.
President Trump signed Space Directive #1, formally implementing as policy what Vice President Pence had announced at the first meeting of the National Space Council in October: that NASA will focus its human spaceflight efforts on a return to the Moon, and then onto Mars. What really changed?
Three launches to the Moon and one each to Mercury and Mars; two arrivals at near-Earth asteroids; and an approach to an encounter with a distant Kuiper belt object are highlights we anticipate in 2018.
Looking back on 2017, we here at The Planetary Society are proud of what we have accomplished during this orbit of the Sun. Emily Lakdawalla, Jason Davis, Casey Dreier, and Mat Kaplan reflect on the year that was.