It’s 2020. This is the year of Cyberpunk. Five years after we were all supposed to get flying cars and hoverboards. Seven years after the Mayan apocalypse, 16 years after Judgment Day. Replicants? That was 2019, old news. The future is now.
Let’s see what might happen this year.
1. NASA’s Mars 2020 Mission
NASA will launch a new Mars rover mission, aptly titled Mars 2020, on July 17.
If all goes as planned, the rover will land at the Jezero crater on February 18, 2021, where it will most notably collect information regarding the possibility of ancient life on Mars.
Naming of NASA’s new rover is currently underway. The contest to name it began back in August, inviting students across the U.S. to send in essays and suggest names. Right now, the contest is in the “judging period,” and later this month they’ll open the final contestants up to a public poll, during which everyone can choose their favorite. The final name will be announced in February.
2. Japan Will Host the Olympics…With Robots
Tokyo, Japan will host this year’s 2020 Summer Olympics beginning in July (take that John Titor, I guess), but this time there’ll be a twist: Robots.
The robots will help out in a variety of ways — demonstrations back in March showed how robots might assist individuals in wheelchairs, or serve drinks to spectators. Toyota even demoed a robotic avatar that people might use to “virtually” experience the Olympics if they can’t visit in person.
Here’s a look at some of the other robots Toyota has showcased for Tokyo 2020, courtesy The Japan Times:
I don’t usually watch the Olympics, but if there’s a chance we’ll get to see weird robot shenanigans, I might just tune in this year.
3. Voyager 1 & 2 Prepare for the Long Sleep
Voyager 1 represents the farthest a man-made object has ever traveled from Earth. Along with its sister ship Voyager 2, the spacecarft carries aboard the Golden Record, a gold-plated disc containing information about life on Earth, our culture and world, music, photos, and art.
While adjustments have been made over the years to conserve power, 2020 marks the year when both spacecraft begin to wind down, and scientific instruments will be powered off one by one. By 2025, the crafts’ generators will be spent, and all instruments will be nonoperational.
Being the Voyager, however, its voyage will never truly end. According to NASA, in about 296,000 years, Voyager 1 will pass 4.3 light-years from Sirius, “the brightest star in the sky.” And, barring any traumatic run-ins with other objects in space, it will continue to travel the galaxy forever.
“The Voyagers are destined—perhaps eternally—to wander the Milky Way.”
4. NASA’s First Manned SpaceX Mission
This was on my new year’s list for 2019, intended to happen last July, but the event was pushed back. This was because the Crew Dragon capsule from Demo-1 exploded during a ground test, according to Reuters.
But all is not lost — NASA astronauts Douglas G. Hurley and Robert L. Behnken are still set to perform the first crewed flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon, hopefully sometime later this year, perhaps even in the first quarter.
5. Baba Vanga’s Predictions Get A Do-Over
I saw this story when it popped up earlier last month, but like Tim Binnall over at Coast to Coast AM, I noticed an odd quirk in some of Baba Vanga’s alleged predictions for 2020: They were the same predictions she allegedly made for 2019.
You can read her big prognostications over there.
It’s unclear at this point whether or not she actually made these predictions herself, however according to the Mirror we’ll see earthquakes, tsunamis, and a meteorite strike in Russia.
More notably, in my opinion, is that apparently Baba Vanga’s predictions reach all the way to the year 5079, at which point the universe will end and future predictions will be moot. Oh, and we’ll discover time travel in 2304.
Awfully close to C204 on that one.