Space Exploration Timeline Title

2021 - 2030

2021

Artist illustration of NASA's Perseverance rover on Mars
NASA Public Domain Image

February 20, 2021

First Sounds Recorded on Mars

NASA's Perseverance rover records the first sounds captured on the surface of Mars. The rover beams the audio clips back to Earth and the first eerie sounds of wind gusting on the red planet are heard by human ears for the first time. Perseverance will continue to capture sound recordings on Mars including the the rover's motor, a laser cutting a rock, and the sounds of the Ingenuity helicopter.

Image of NASA's Ingenuity helicopter on Mars
NASA Public Domain Image

April 19, 2021

First Powered Flight on Another Planet

NASA's Ingenuity Mars helicopter makes history by becoming the first aircraft to make a powered, controlled flight on another planet. The small drone aircraft is launched from the Perseverance Mars rover and climbs to a prescribed maximum altitude of 10 feet (3 meters) where it maintains a stable hover for 30 seconds. It then descends and touches back down on the surface of Mars after logging a total of 39.1 seconds of flight. This successful flight marks a new era in planetary exploration.

Artist rendering of the Parker Solar Probe at the Sun
NASA Public Domain Image

April 28, 2021

First Spacecraft to Enter the Sun's Atmosphere

NASA's Parker Solar Probe becomes the first man-made spacecraft to enter the atmosphere of the Sun. The spacecraft crosses the Alfvén critical surface where it stays for approximately 5 hours. This is the boundary that marks the end of the solar atmosphere and the beginning of the solar wind. During this time, the craft crosses into the Sun's corona 3 times and literally touches the Sun. It will continue to move even closer over the coming months.

Image of SpaceX Inspiration 4 crew
SpaceX / CC0

September 15, 2021

First All-Civilian Astronaut Crew

Space-X makes history once again by launching the first all-civilian astronaut crew Into orbit. The Inspiration 4 crew consists of Jared Isaacman, Sian Proctor, Chris Sembroski, and Hayley Arceneaux. They are launched aboard a reusable Falcon 9 rocket and spend three days in orbit around the Earth before re-entering the atmosphere and splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean. All though civilians have flown in space before, this is the first time an all-civilian crew has flown with no professional astronauts on board.