Each year brings more advancements in space discovery and exploration.
Space tourism is officially a reality rather than a far-fetched dream, with more tourists taking trips to space in 2023.
It was a year of milestones for space exploration — and 2024 is sure to bring more discoveries.
Here's a look back at a few out-of-this-world moments from 2023.
On Sept. 24, NASA's OSIRIS-REx landed in Utah.
OSIRIS-REx's mission was to retrieve a sample from the 4.5 billion-year-old asteroid Bennu, which was nearly 63,000 miles away.
The mission was successful when the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft returned to Earth carrying samples of the asteroid. The sample was released, and the spacecraft was off to catch another asteroid.
"We have touchdown!" Mission Recovery Operations said.
In 2023, the four-person Artemis II crew was announced.
Christina H. Koch, Victor Glover, Jeremy Hansen and Reid Wiseman will be embarking on a 10-day journey around the moon in 2024. They will fly NASA's Orion space capsule and will lift off from Florida's Kennedy Space Center on a Space Launch System rocket.
This is the first crewed mission to the moon since the Apollo program over 50 years ago.
The date of this launch has not been officially announced, but according to NASA's website, the earliest the launch could be is Nov. 2024.
The James Webb Space Telescope celebrated its first birthday on July 12.
That day, a beautiful image was released showing sun-like stars being created in space.
"In just one year, the James Webb Space Telescope has transformed humanity’s view of the cosmos, peering into dust clouds and seeing light from faraway corners of the universe for the very first time. Every new image is a new discovery, empowering scientists around the globe to ask and answer questions they once could never dream of," said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
"Webb is an investment in American innovation, but also a scientific feat made possible with NASA’s international partners that share a can-do spirit to push the boundaries of what is known to be possible. Thousands of engineers, scientists and leaders poured their life’s passion into this mission, and their efforts will continue to improve our understanding of the origins of the universe – and our place in it."
On Aug. 10, Virgin Galactic sent tourists to space.
On board were 80-year-old former British Olympian Jon Goodwin, health and wellness coach Keisha Schahaff and her daughter Anastatia Mayers.
On Aug. 23, India became the fourth nation to successfully land on the moon when Chandrayaan-3 reached the surface.
This landing made India the first to land near the lunar South Pole, an area of the moon that has not been widely explored.
SpaceX's Starship, the world's largest rocket, had a historic first two launches in 2023.
Both of the launches ended in explosions, but the second attempt was more successful because it traveled farther.