Welcome to Solar Probe Plus, goodbye Ulysses

2008/09/01 Elhuyar Zientzia Iturria: Elhuyar aldizkaria

Welcome to Solar Probe Plus, goodbye Ulysses
01/09/2008 | Elhuyar
(Photo: D. Hardy/ESA)

NASA prepares the Solar Probe Plus mission, a mission that aims to bring the Sun closer than ever. This mission will attempt to resolve two issues that cannot answer: why the Sun's crown is much warmer than the surface (about a million degrees the first and six thousand the second) and how the solar wind in that crown accelerates to supersonic speeds.

But before starting all of this, astronomers must end an earlier project: Ulysses. The spacecraft has been receiving and communicating information about the Sun for eighteen years, but it is already giving the last breaths. In fact, soon scientists will not be able to continue directing the Ulysses radio antennas to Earth, because the fuel tube is freezing all over. Then, Ulysses begins to wander around the Sun and eventually gets lost in space.

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