October 8, 2008 at 2:19 am #29287
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Sept. 23, 2008 RELEASE : 08-241 Ulysses Reveals Global Solar Wind Plasma Output At 50-Year Low WASHINGTON — Data from the Ulysses spacecraft, a joint NASA-European Space Agency mission, show the sun has reduced its output of solar wind to the lowest levels since accurate readings became available. The sun’s current state could reduce the natural shielding that envelops our solar system.
“The sun’s million mile-per-hour solar wind inflates a protective bubble, or heliosphere, around the solar system. It influences how things work here on Earth and even out at the boundary of our solar system where it meets the galaxy,” said Dave McComas, Ulysses’ solar wind instrument principal investigator and senior executive director at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “Ulysses data indicate the solar wind’s global pressure is the lowest we have seen since the beginning of the space age.”
The sun’s solar wind plasma is a stream of charged particles ejected from the sun’s upper atmosphere. The solar wind interacts with every planet in our solar system. It also defines the border between our solar system and interstellar space.
This border, called the heliopause, surrounds our solar system where the solar wind’s strength is no longer great enough to push back the wind of other stars. The region around the heliopause also acts as a shield for our solar system, warding off a significant portion of the cosmic rays outside the galaxy.
“Galactic cosmic rays carry with them radiation from other parts of our galaxy,” said Ed Smith, NASA’s Ulysses project scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “With the solar wind at an all-time low, there is an excellent chance the heliosphere will diminish in size and strength. If that occurs, more galactic cosmic rays will make it into the inner part of our solar system.”
Galactic cosmic rays are of great interest to NASA. Cosmic rays are linked to engineering decisions for unmanned interplanetary spacecraft and exposure limits for astronauts traveling beyond low-Earth orbit.
In 2007, Ulysses made its third rapid scan of the solar wind and magnetic field from the sun’s south to north pole. When the results were compared with observations from the previous solar cycle, the strength of the solar wind pressure and the magnetic field embedded in the solar wind were found to have decreased by 20 percent. The field strength near the spacecraft has decreased by 36 percent.
“The sun cycles between periods of great activity and lesser activity,” Smith said. “Right now, we are in a period of minimal activity that has stretched on longer than anyone anticipated.”
Ulysses was the first mission to survey the space environment over the sun’s poles. Data Ulysses has returned have forever changed the way scientists view our star and its effects. The venerable spacecraft has lasted more than 18 years, or almost four times its expected mission lifetime. The Ulysses solar wind findings were published in a recent edition of Geophysical Research Letters.
The Ulysses spacecraft was carried into Earth orbit aboard space shuttle Discovery on Oct. 6, 1990. From Earth orbit it was propelled toward Jupiter, passing the planet on Feb. 8, 1992. Jupiter’s immense gravity bent the spacecraft’s flight path downward and away from the plane of the planets’ orbits. This placed Ulysses into a final orbit around the sun that would take it over its north and south poles.
The Ulysses spacecraft was provided by ESA, having been built by Astrium GmbH (formerly Dornier Systems) of Friedrichshafen, Germany. NASA provided the launch vehicle and the upper stage boosters. The U.S. Department of Energy supplied a radioisotope thermoelectric generator to power the spacecraft. Science instruments were provided by U.S. and European investigators. The spacecraft is operated from JPL by a joint NASA-ESA team.
More information about the Ulysses mission is available on the Web at:October 8, 2008 at 3:50 am #29288
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Translated from Russian by Yuri Machkasov.
Russian original copyright © 1993 Victor Pelevin, “Text” Publishers, Moscow, Russia.
This translation copyright © 2001, Yuri Machkasov. All rights reserved. The translator may be contacted by means of electronic mail at email@example.com. All rights to the Russian original are not intended to be usurped or infringed upon by this translation and remain property of the corresponding copyright holders, or in public domain as the case may be. All endnotes are by the translator.
Lunokhod-1. Photo by Lavochkin Assn.
Dedicated to heroes of the Soviet Space.
Omon is not a particularly common name, and it maybe isn’t the best there is. My father gave it to me. He worked in police all of his life, and he wanted me to become a policeman too.
– You see, Ommie, – he would tell me often after having a couple of drinks, – with this name, if you decide on police… And especially if you join the Party…
Even though father’s job included shooting people from time to time, he had a kind heart, and he was cheerful and agreeable by nature. He loved me very much, and he hoped I would achieve that which he wasn’t able to achieve himself. And what he wished for was a plot of land in the suburbs so that he could grow cucumbers and beets on it – not for eating, or selling at the farmer’s market. That too, of course, but mainly for just being able to hack at the earth with a spade after stripping naked from the waist up, to see the purplish earthworms writhe and all the assorted underground life go about its business, to haul the wheelbarrow full of manure across the entire subdivision, stopping at strangers’ fences to have a couple of jokes. When he realized he was not going to get any of that, he began to hope that at least one of the Krivomazov brothers was going to live a happier life (my older brother Ovir whom my father wanted to become a diplomat died from meningitis when he was in fourth grade; all I remember about him is that he had a big oblong mole on his forehead).ETCOctober 10, 2008 at 2:59 am #29290
I have warned you before on crowding the forum with multiple, sequential postings that no one is replying to.
If you are getting responses, it is no problem. If you are just having a conversation with yourself, and no one is reading them, its spam.
I know your intentions are good. Please control yourself. Combine your thoughts into a single longer email.
MichaelOctober 13, 2008 at 12:56 pm #29292
Why don’t you read Anastasia – the Ringing Cedars of Russia book series by Vladimir Megre – and give us book review. I think people on this forum will be more interested in your spiritual assessment than your politics.
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