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Hank delivers news of the future, with his rundown of the top space missions scheduled for 2014. Learn about upcoming launches to a nearby asteroid, a comet as it approaches the sun, and the first test flight of NASA's new Orion crew module.
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Anybody can bring you news that's already happened, but at Scishow, we like to start up the year by bringing you, news from the future! Space news from the future! Like space cannons and selfies taken on the surface of a comet and the very future of manned space flight itself! I'm Hank Green, and welcome to the first Scishow news of 2014 
(Intro plays)

First, you can't go wrong with a mission that involves the word space and also the word cannon. Just can't. Later this year the Japanese Space Agency, JAXA is scheduled to launch a new spacecraft whose mission will be to explore a nearby asteroid, and in the interests of science, punch it in the face. Hayabusa 2 is expected to lift of this summer to rendezvous with a space rock just 920 meters across known as 1999 JU3. No other vehicles have had interludes with asteroids in the past. The target of this mission is a so called C class asteroid. One that's thought to be older, less rocky and richer in organic matter, hydrated minerals, and possibly water then other asteroids.  But in order to know for sure, some time in the year 2018, the probe will drop close to JU3 and fire a metal projectile into it, forming a crater and throwing up particles from below the rock's surface.  Scientists, with their adorable tendency to give things the worst names ever, refer to this interplanetary firearm as, get this, the small carry-on impactor.  A carry-on.  Like you're gonna take it on the plane with you, you probably would not be allowed to take this thing on an airplane with you, so it's taken on the much improved name of Space Cannon.  After collecting the debris from its drive-by attack, Hayabusa 2 will return to Earth in 2020 with its samples, which astronomers will study for clues about how water and inorganic molecules may have been transported around the early solar system, including perhaps to a very young Earth.  

Not to be outdone, the European Space Agency will undertake an even more spectacular mission this year.  In the fall, its Rosetta Spacecraft will become one of the first to orbit and then land on a comet.  Rosetta was launched in 2004 with the express purpose of intercepting a comet as it streaks through the inner solar system, a hunk of ice, rock, and dust that has this mouthful of a name.  But to its friends, it's known as Comet 67P.  By the time Rosetta reaches it this summer, 67P will have begun to experience the full effects of the sun's heat and solar wind, which slowly break up the comet and start forming its long wispy tail.  To capture the excitement come November, Rosetta will launch a cute little 100kg lander that will anchor itself to the comet's nucleus, measure the effects of the breakup, and even drill below its surface to collect samples that will be analyzed in its on-board lab.  And did I mention, it'll be sending pictures from the surface, can't wait!  Much like Hayabusa's asteroids, comets are ancient remnants of the solar system's formation, and astronomers hope 67P will yield important clues to the origins of water and the building blocks of life on Earth and other planets.

And finally, the signature event of the year in space science, I predict will be the first ever launch of the Orion spacecraft, the vehicle that will carry the next generation of astronauts into space.  In September, NASA will launch a delta four heavy rocket carrying an empty Orion crew module 5800km above Earth for two full orbits after which it will re-enter, putting its heat shield and 11 parachutes to the test in an ocean splashdown.  Orion is based on the time-tested Apollo vehicle and will replace the space shuttle as NASA's method for sending people into space.  So this dry run known as Exploration Flight Test-1 or EFT-1 will likely be the most hotly anticipated event on every space watcher's calendar.  

I know I'll be watching, and I hope that you join me at SciShow News when it happens.  Thanks for making SciShow News part of your new year, an extra special thanks to our Subbable subscribers who make this show possible.  Would you like an official SciShow chocolate bar?  One of our patented pocket protectors?  To find out how you can score these and other awesome perks, go to and if you have any questions or comments or suggestions, you can always reach us through Facebook and Twitter or down in the comments below, and don't forget to go to and subscribe.