Scienctific highlights of 2023

New ground is broken every day in science and technology that helps mankind take a step into the future. Let’s explore the highlights for the new year...

December 26, 2022 06:37 pm | Updated 06:37 pm IST

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and the 8 main crew members.

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and the 8 main crew members. | Photo Credit: dearMoon Project

dearMoon project

It is a 6-day lunar tourism mission that will use a SpaceX Starship spacecraft to fly a single circumlunar trajectory around the Moon. It is organised and financed by Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, who will be accompanied by two crew members and eight civilians from various disciplines. The crew members are:  American DJ Steve Aoki, popular space YouTuber Tim Dodd, multidisciplinary artist Yemi A.D., Irish photographer Rhiannon Adam, photographer Karim Iliya, Indian actor Dev Joshi, documentary filmmaker Brendan Hall and South Korean rapper Choi Seung Hyun. After returning, the passengers will create art that would be exhibited for all to see.

India’s first manned mission

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has set plans in motion to launch the country’s first human space flight mission by end of 2023. It will begin a series of test flights from February, including two unmanned ‘Abort missions’ to test for crew safety. This is to test the systems that will enable the crew to escape from the spacecraft in case of an emergency or failure.

Goodbye, Jumbo Jet

The final Boeing 747 aircraft rolls out of the hangar for the at the Everett factory.

The final Boeing 747 aircraft rolls out of the hangar for the at the Everett factory. | Photo Credit: Jennifer Buchanan

The iconic Boeing 747 has rolled out of its factory for the last time, after 50 years since its production started. The 1574th aircraft, will be the last to be manufactured in the Seattle factory, as the company transitions to two-engine wide-body jetliners that are cheaper. The 747 will be flown by a test pilot, painted and handed over to Atlas Air early next year.

Driverless trains

France will begin the roll-out of high-speed, autonomous trains to transport goods between Paris and southeast of France. The testing for the “drone trains” began in 2019. The trains, equipped with sensors to detect potential hazards and automatically brake, if necessary, will have better efficiency, on-time performance, smoother traffic, and lower energy consumption. This will in turn ensure 25% more trains can be run on the same lines.

Wide view of the galaxy

Starting October 2023, astronomers will be able to observe a wide view of the cosmos thanks to the Vera C. Rubin Observatory which will begin full operations. It is a ground-based wide-field reflecting telescope that can photograph the entire available sky every few nights. Currently, under construction on the El Penón peak of Cerro Pachón in northern Chile, it can help catalogue small moving objects in the solar system and map the structure and evolution of the Milky Way, besides giving a peek into other cosmic mysteries.

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