when is the next time something cool will happen in space?
On July 14, 2015 (2 months from now):
new horizons will fly by pluto
New Horizons was launched toward* Pluto in 2006. At the time, Pluto was still a planet. Pluto was reclassified as a dwarf planet a few months after launch.
*The path to Pluto included a sweet gravity slingshot with Jupiter and Saturn. So cool.
The closest it will be to Pluto is 7,800 miles on July 14, 2015.
More: Wikipedia | CNN | The Space Reporter | RT
On September 28, 2015 (4 months from now):
a total lunar eclipse will occur
The Earth will block all the sun's light to the moon that would normally be visible from the eastern Americas and western Europe. (See full map.)
The eclipse will occur Sunday, September 27, 2015 at 8:11 PM EST.
On December 7, 2015 (6 months from now):
akatsuki will attempt to orbit venus
Akatsuki was launched in March of 2010 and tried to insert into an orbit around Venus. It failed and went around the sun instead. It is going to try again on December 7, 2015.
On March 4, 2016 (9 months from now):
insight is scheduled for launch
InSight's goal is to study geology on Mars. It is scheduled for launch on March 4, 2016 by JPL.
Unlike Curiosity (or Opportunity or Spirit*), InSight is planned to be a strictly stationary lander.
More: Wikipedia | JPL
*Spirit is now a stationary "rover." Its wheels are stuck, but it keeps science-ing!
On July 4, 2016 (1 year from now):
juno will insert into orbit around jupiter
Juno was launched in 2011 and will spend 5 years journeying to Jupiter. It will arrive in July of 2016 and insert into a polar orbit around the gas giant.
The only time Juno has been out of sunlight was for ten minutes, when it passed back by Earth in 2013.
More: Wikipedia | NASA | SWRI
On August 21, 2017 (2 years from now):
a total solar eclipse will occur
The moon will block out the sun for parts of the United States. (See full map.) The last time a total solar eclipse was visible from this much of the United States was in 1918.
The eclipse will occur August 21, 2017 at 11:47 AM EST.