Kate HowellsDec 05, 2022

The Best of 2022

With over 3,000 votes cast, the results are in for the Best of 2022! Here are your picks for the year’s most amazing images, inspiring missions, exciting moments in exploration, and more!

Best JWST image

The Pillars of Creation

JWST Pillars of Creation
JWST Pillars of Creation James Webb Space Telescope’s near-infrared-light view of the iconic Pillars of Creation. This region of the Eagle Nebula was made famous when the Hubble Space Telescope imaged in 1995.Image: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI; Joseph DePasquale (STScI), Anton M. Koekemoer (STScI), Alyssa Pagan (STScI)

Most exciting moment in planetary science

DART successfully changing the orbit of Dimorphos

In September, NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission successfully altered the orbit of asteroid moonlet Dimorphos around its parent asteroid Didymos by smashing into it. This was the first ever test of an asteroid deflection technique.

LICIACube view of Dimorphos ejecta
LICIACube view of Dimorphos ejecta The Italian Space Agency's (ASI) LICIACube spacecraft captured this image of plumes of ejecta after the DART spacecraft impacted the asteroid Dimorphos. Each rectangle represents a different level of contrast in order to better see fine structure in the plumes.Image: ASI/NASA/APL

Best Solar System image

Neptune from JWST

Neptune from JWST
Neptune from JWST NASA's JWST spacecraft took this image of Neptune using its Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam), which captures objects in the near-infrared range from 0.6 to 5 microns. In addition to several bright narrow rings, the JWST images clearly show Neptune’s fainter dust bands.Image: NASA/ESA/CSA and STScI

Favorite active planetary science mission this year

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)

James Webb Space Telescope
James Webb Space Telescope Image: NASA

Best spacecraft image

LightSail 2 over the Bahamas

LightSail 2 image of Florida and the Bahamas
LightSail 2 image of Florida and the Bahamas This image taken by The Planetary Society's LightSail 2 spacecraft on Dec. 24, 2021 shows Florida and the beautiful waters of the Bahamas. North is approximately at top left. This image has been color-adjusted and some distortion from the camera’s 180-degree fisheye lens has been removed.Image: The Planetary Society

Most exciting upcoming planetary science mission

NASA’s Artemis program to send humans back to the Moon

Earth and the Moon from Orion
Earth and the Moon from Orion The Orion spacecraft's solar array camera captured this view of the Moon and Earth during its closest approach to the lunar surface as part of the Artemis I mission.Image: NASA

The best Planetary Society accomplishment thanks to the support of our members

LightSail 2 inspiring another solar sailing mission

The Paris-based company Gama announced that it has raised 2 million euros ($2.2 million USD) to begin work on a solar sailing mission. In an interview, Gama’s co-founder, Andrew Nutter, said his company “tried to learn as much as possible” from The Planetary Society’s LightSail 2 solar sailing mission, which completed its mission in Nov. 2022.

LightSail on deployment table
LightSail on deployment table LightSail 2 during its development.Image: LightSail team

Thank you to everyone who voted this year. We’re excited to see what 2023 has in store for us!

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