A mysterious interstellar visitor created a huge buzz in the scientific world, some speculating whether is was a sign from alien life. (artist concept : M. Kornmesser-ESO)

The Year 2018 in space

It was an exciting year for space discoveries.

A new satellite is exploring planets beyond our solar system , a visitor from beyond our galaxy and China achieves a major accomplishment on landing a probe on the far side of the moon.

Andrew Fazekas, science writer and broadcaster looks back at 2018 and a little bit to what may happen in space in 2019.


For Canada, 2018 was a big year with Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques being rocketed up to the international space station for a six month assignment.

Andrew Fazekas, science columnist “The Night Sky Guy”. (supplied)

Causing a stir in the scientific community was the first interstellar asteroid which quickly entered our solar system in late 2017, and left iin 2018. In its wake however, the scientific community speculated whether it might be an abandoned alien spaceship, or interstellar probe.

China’s lunar rover ‘Yutu-2’ (Jade Rabbit-2) is seen in this photo released on Jan. 3, leaving wheel marks after being deployed from the lander that touched down on the surface of the far side of the moon earlier in the day. (China National Space Administration/Xinhua News Agency via AP)

China for its part leapt into the big leagues of space exploration becoming the first to land a probe on the far side of the moon and sending back information via an orbiting satellite it had sent up earlier.

Fazekas notes it’s important not to call it the “dark side” of the moon. He says in fact it gets as much light as the side which always faces Earth.

NASA successfully landed a probe on Mars in November, this one a stationary probe, even as the 2012 Mars “Curiousity” Rover still remains active exploring the planet.

2018 saw the deployment of TESS-TESS= Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite- to explore potentially Earth like planets outside our solar system (NASA)

NASA also launched a probe in August to explore the Sun’s ultra hot corona.

An interesting media event was made by Elon Musk’s Space-X as it sought to enter the heavy launch market.  In a unique stunt to test the new payload rocket, a dummy astronaut “starman” was strapped into a Tesla roadster that was shot deeper into space from the nose cone to orbit out to Mars and back.

An actual Tesla roadster car is now out in deep space as part of a publicity stunt during testing of the SpaceX Falcon heavy lift rocket (SpaceX)

Yes there is now a car in space. It’s expected to come back within a few hundred thousand kilometres of Earth in 2091. It will continue to orbit for a couple of million years, before eventually slamming into Earth or Venus

Looking ahead, several private companies are becoming interested in space efforts, and even space tourism.

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