Friday, February 22, 2008

Ulysses Ends Fantastic Mission

The Ulysses polar solar orbiter is finally succumbing after 17 years of service. Richard Marsden, the mission manager, said "We will squeeze the very last drops of science out of it that we can, Ulysses is a terrific old workhorse. It has produced great science and lasted much longer than we ever thought it would."

A joint collaboration of ESA and NASA, the mission has made incredible discoveries including "
taking the first direct measurements of interstellar dust particles and interstellar helium atoms in the solar system and the discovery that the magnetic field leaving the sun is balanced across latitudes."

The spacecraft, launched from the Space Shuttle in 1990, has lasted 4 times longer than it was originally designed for.

Similar to the Mars Rover and other missions, this investment in space exploration is paying much higher dividends than initially expected. Contact your congressmen, tell them what a great success this mission was, and ask them why there are not more exploration missions on the table fort the future.

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