NASA’s Astronomical and Historic 2022: A Major Step for Humanity [Video]

NASA’s Astronomical and Historic 2022: A Major Step for Humanity [Video]

The James Webb Space Telescope is a space observatory to see deeper into the Universe than ever before. In July 2022, it became operational for science and released its first full-color images and spectroscopic data. Credit: ESA/ATG medialab

In 2022, we helped humanity take a major step towards a permanent presence in deep space…

We’ve captured stunning new views of the universe…

And we witnessed a one-of-a-kind mission…

Here’s a look back at these and other things we’ve done this year NASA.

In 2022, NASA launched its mega Moon rocket for the first time: sending the unmanned Orion spacecraft around the Moon, ushering in a new era in astronomy with record-breaking new images from the Webb Space Telescope, moving an asteroid in humanity’s first asteroid. -never a demonstration of planetary defense and much more. Here’s a look back at these and other things they did this year @NASA!

Artemis I flight test take off

NASA’s Space Launch System rocket carrying the Orion spacecraft launches on the Artemis I flight test, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022, from Launch Complex 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA’s Artemis I mission is the first integrated flight test of the agency’s deep space exploration systems: the Orion spacecraft, the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, and ground systems. SLS and Orion launched at 1:47 a.m. ET from Launch Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Moon to Mars

*Artemis I Mega Rocket launches Orion to the Moon

*Splash! NASA’s Orion returns to Earth after a historic mission to the Moon

“And the take-off of Artemis I…” – Launch commentator

One of NASA’s biggest moments in 2022 was the historic launch of our Artemis I flight test around the Moon. About 26 days later, we celebrated the mission’s return to Earth…

“Splashdown! The final chapter of NASA’s journey to the Moon is coming to an end!” — Commentary on the mission

*NASA is pursuing astronaut Lunar Landers for future missions to Artemis’s moon

We also asked companies for proposals to develop and demonstrate astronauts that could provide lunar landing services beyond the Artemis III mission.

*NASA identifies candidate regions to land the next Americans on the Moon

And we identified 13 candidate landing regions near the Moon’s south pole, each with multiple potential landing sites for Artemis III.

Solar System and beyond

*First images of the invisible universe from the Webb telescope

We released the first full-color images and spectroscopic data from the Webb Space Telescope, showing Webb’s ability to capture sharp new views of our solar system and beyond.

*The impact of the DART mission changed the motion of the asteroid in space

We have successfully demonstrated the first test of planetary defense: crashing a spacecraft into a moving asteroid, altering that asteroid’s path of travel.

*Sample tube drop point established on Mars

And we helped establish the location for an “exit point”.[{” attribute=””>Mars where rock and soil samples can be retrieved by a future mission and returned to Earth for study.

NASA Spacewalker Frank Rubio During an Orbital Sunset

NASA astronaut and Expedition 68 Flight Engineer Frank Rubio is pictured during a spacewalk tethered to the International Space Station’s starboard truss structure. Behind Rubio, the last rays of an orbital sunset penetrate Earth’s thin atmosphere as the space station flew 258 miles above the African nation of Algeria. Credit: NASA

Humans in Space

*NASA Authorization Act of 2022

2022 was the 22nd continuous year with humans aboard the International Space Station. Congress passed a new law extending NASA’s work on the station through at least September 2030.

*NASA and Boeing Complete Uncrewed Flight Test to Station

Other human spaceflight activities from 2022 include commercial partner Boeing’s uncrewed flight test to and from the station …

*Space Station Crew Rotation Flights Continue

Continued crew rotation flights to the space station by partner SpaceX

*Vande Hei Sets U.S. Spaceflight Record

NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei’s U.S. record-setting stay in orbit …

*First Private Astronaut Mission to Space Station

And the first NASA-enabled private astronaut mission to the space station …


Illustration of Low-Earth Orbit Flight Test of an Inflatable Decelerator (LOFTID). Credit: NASA

Space Tech

*CAPSTONE Arrives to Orbit at the Moon

Our space technology activities in 2022 included our CAPSTONE spacecraft’s arrival at the Moon to “test drive” the same unique orbit that the Gateway lunar outpost will fly.

*LOFTID Inflatable Heat Shield Test a Success

We successfully demonstrated an inflatable heat shield that could help land heavier payloads on worlds with atmospheres, including Mars, and Earth.

*Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) Began Operations

And the agency’s first two-way laser relay communications system began demonstrations. It could dramatically expand communications capabilities for future space exploration.

EMIT Illustration

EMIT observes Earth from outside the International Space Station. EMIT data is delivered to the NASA Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC) for use by other researchers and the public. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


*Launched EMIT Earth Science Instrument

Work and missions that focused on Earth this past year include a new space station instrument that studies how atmospheric mineral dust affects the planet’s temperature.

*Released Concept for Earth Information Center

We also released the first Earth Information Center concept to provide the information, resources, and tools decision-makers need to respond to climate change.

*Landsat Turns 50

And we helped celebrate the Landsat program’s 50 years of imaging Earth. The program has captured over 10 million images since it began.

NASA’s X 59 QueSST

This artist’s concept of NASA’s X-59 QueSST jet reflects the airplane’s final configuration following years of research and design engineering. The jet is now under construction by Lockheed Martin at the company’s Skunk Works facility in Palmdale, California. Credit: Lockheed Martin


*Jet Engine Installed on NASA’s X-59

On the aeronautics research front, our quiet supersonic X-59 aircraft was outfitted with the engine that will power it to speeds up to Mach 1-point-4.

*X-57 Maxwell Aircraft Gets Powered Up

Lithium-ion battery packs installed in our all-electric X-57 Maxwell aircraft successfully powered the plane’s motors.

*Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) Mission

And we continued partnerships to develop a system to safely transport people and cargo using revolutionary new aircraft that are only just now becoming possible.

NASA Lunabotics Junior Contest Winners 2022

NASA names two national winners for the Lunabotics Junior contest: Lucia Grisanti, for grades K-5 and Shriya Sawant for the grades 6-12 were selected from approximately 2,300 submitted designs of Moon rovers. Credit: Future Engineers

STEM Engagement

*Lunabotics Junior Contest

NASA STEM-related activities in 2022 included the Lunabotics Junior Contest, which featured our Artemis missions. We announced the two national winners of the competition.

*Vice President Hosts NASA for Family STEM Event

An event hosted by the Vice President featured NASA STEM education activities, a special screening of the Disney Pixar film, “Lightyear,” and several NASA astronauts.

*NASA Continued Spanish Language Communications in 2022

“¡Despegue!” — Spanish Language Launch Commentator

And we continued sharing knowledge about NASA missions and activities through a variety of Spanish-language social media accounts and websites in 2022.

JFK 60 Moon Speech

Credit: NASA


“We choose to go to the Moon …” — JFK

*The 60th Anniversary of JFK’s Rice University Speech

The 60th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s historic speech at Rice University was one of the most notable NASA-related anniversaries. The speech recommitted the nation to the goal of landing astronauts on the Moon and returning them safely to Earth.

“President Kennedy knew that vision would be hard – not easy. And today, in “Space City,” the “Artemis Generation” stands ready. Ready to return humanity to the Moon and then to take us further than ever before – to Mars.” — Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator

Benefits for you

Year after year, the work we do that expands our reach into the cosmos, leads to groundbreaking discoveries, and turns science fiction into science fact is “work done” for your benefit!

Here are some of NASA’s activities starting in 2022. For more information, visit Thanks for watching. Please have a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season, and we look forward to sharing more NASA highlights with you in 2023!

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