2016: The Year of Space

2016 is shaping up to be the most interesting year for space flight since the days of Apollo, especially if you book-end it with the tale end of 2015.

Dec 2015
First successful Falcon 9 landing (on land)
First flight of Falcon 9 v 1.2
Return to flight after June mishap
April 2016: First successful barge landing
April 2016: SpaceX announces plans for 2018 landing of 5 tonnes on Mars (huge surprise)
July/August/Sept: First re-flight of Falcon 9 booster
August: SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition
September: Reveal of Mars plans
Nov/Dec/Jan: First flight of Falcon Heavy
On top of all of that: Up to 18 flights and landing attempts of Falcon 9
Blue Origin's first re-flight of their rocket (and in late 2015, the first landing)

(Also of recent was the reveal of Pluto)

The above represents a lot of very momentous events, all packed into little more than a year. If you're someone intrigued by spaceflight, it's perhaps analogous to the year a sports nutt's favorite hockey team won the Stanley Cup and set all sorts of records.

It could all come to a grinding half if and when the next rocket blows up, but if all goes according to plan, it will be a crazy year.

Widening the scope technology wise, we've also recently had:

Sept 2015: Autopilot beta goes live -- first compelling semi-autonomous technology on the market
Sept 2015: Release/reveal of Tesla Model X
March 2016: Reveal of Tesla Model 3, with 400,000 reservations
Gigafactory phase 1 starting to come on line
Volvo's announcement of 2017 program that will feature real families driving fully autonomous vehicles on select roads
AlphaGo beats world "Go" champion
Deep Learning making big strides
Gravitational waves

There's a lot happening...