Exoplanets expectations will increase, even after a year as intense as it was in 2017 on this subject. First, during the month of March, the TESS space telescope will be launched by NASA, from the United States. Then, at the end of the year, CHEOPS will be launched by ESA, the European Space Agency.
On the one hand, TESS will look for new exoplanets around the bright stars closest to us. Instead, CHEOPS will search for exoplanets around stars known to already host planets, to find out if they hold even more, as happened at the end of 2017 when a system of 7 planets turned out to have 8.
In summary, with the launch of these two space telescopes, the discoveries of exoplanets could increase significantly.
In this 2017 NASA made a historic announcement: the first mission to try to touch the Sun was being developed. By mid-2018, the mission will finally be carried out.
With the name of Solar Probe Plus, the mission to touch the Sun will try to give us some of the answers we have been looking for some time. Among the various questions that will try to answer, is the functioning of the external atmosphere of the star – known as solar corona – and why the temperature does not decrease as it moves away from the center.
In this mission called BepiColombo, Japan and Europe will launch 2 satellites to Mercury to collect information about its magnetic field, its structure, and its surface.
The satellites, which will be launched in October, should land on Mercury in 2025.
On May 5, 2018, a robotic lander called InSight will be launched by NASA bound for Mars.
The robot, which suffered several problems before being launched in 2016, will be sent with the idea of studying the interior of Mars through its subsoil, all necessary information if we really evaluate creating a colony there.
Through the space observatory of the European Space Agency called Gaia, astronomers will seek accurate information on billions of objects in the universe. The ship, which was launched in 2013, would complete its observations completely this year, although an extension of up to 4 years is not ruled out due to its proper functioning.
Among the objects that will be studied by Gaia in 2018 are stars, exoplanets, comets, and asteroids. During the 5 years of duration, the ship must have observed each body about 70 times and obtained with amazing accuracy both the position of each of them and their movements.
here is no doubt that 2018 will be a year full of scientific discoveries. As if that were not enough, in addition to these 5 missions, astronomers are always aware of possible signals, both natural phenomena in the universe, such as the collision of stars, and strange signals, whether extraterrestrial or other unknown phenomena.
Probably, tools such as the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the LIGO laser interferometer, or the electromagnetic signal monitors from SETI and METI will also give us a lot of interesting information during the next 12 months.