5 Exciting Space Tech Advances to Look Forward to in 2024

As we approach the year 2024, the final frontier seems closer than ever. The relentless march of technology, combined with an ever-growing interest in space exploration, has taken us to the cusp of a new era. Below are five exciting space technology advances that promise to reshape our understanding of the cosmos, enhance our capability to explore further, and maybe, just maybe, make life multiplanetary.

1. The Artemis III Mission

After more than 50 years since the last manned lunar mission, NASA’s Artemis III is poised to send astronauts back to the surface of the Moon. Set to launch in 2024, this mission aims not just to visit the Moon but to sustain human presence there, establishing a long-term lunar habitat. Equipped with cutting-edge space suits and utilizing the highly anticipated Lunar Gateway—a space station in orbit around the Moon—as a staging point, Artemis III represents a significant leap towards permanent human settlement beyond Earth.

2. The James Webb Space Telescope’s Full Potential

Although the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) was launched in 2021, its full potential is expected to be harnessed by 2024. The JWST, the most powerful space telescope ever built, will peer back over 13.5 billion years to see the first galaxies born after the Big Bang, explore exoplanets’ atmospheres in search of possible signs of life, and carry out a host of other science missions. By 2024, it is anticipated that JWST will be delivering groundbreaking data, possibly reshaping our understanding of the universe.

3. SpaceX’s Starship Missions to Mars

Elon Musk’s SpaceX is planning to launch its first uncrewed mission to Mars as early as 2024 with the Starship spacecraft. This behemoth of a rocket represents the next step in SpaceX’s ambitious plan to send humans to Mars. The Starship is designed to be fully reusable, drastically reducing the cost of space travel, and could carry up to 100 passengers. While 2024 will mark the commencement of uncrewed test flights to the Red Planet, it sets the stage for future human missions, potentially within the decade.

4. Development of Space-based Solar Power Systems

The idea of harnessing the Sun’s energy directly in space and transmitting it to Earth has long been a science fiction staple. By 2024, however, it may start to become a reality. Several entities, including governments and private companies, are investing in the development of space-based solar power systems. These systems aim to collect solar energy in space, where the sun shines continuously, unobstructed by the Earth’s atmosphere or night-time, and then beam it back to Earth via microwaves. This could provide a limitless, clean energy source, drastically reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.

5. Advances in Nanosatellites and CubeSats

The continued miniaturization of satellite technology has led to the development of nanosatellites and CubeSats, small, low-cost satellites that offer a myriad of applications, from weather observation to national security. By 2024, advances in this technology are expected to further reduce costs and expand capabilities, enabling even high school students to design, build, and launch their own space missions. This democratization of space could lead to a surge in innovation, as access to space is opened up to a diverse range of participants across the globe.

The year 2024 is shaping up to be a monumental one for space exploration and technology. With advancements ranging from lunar missions and the exploration of Mars to revolutionary ways of generating power and democratizing access to space, we stand on the brink of a new age of exploration. The stars have never seemed closer.