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Important Missions for Solar System Exploration An overview from early 50s to today… Part VI.

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Presentation on theme: "Important Missions for Solar System Exploration An overview from early 50s to today… Part VI."— Presentation transcript:

1 Important Missions for Solar System Exploration An overview from early 50s to today… Part VI

2 Cluster: The Cluster mission is comprised of four identical spacecraft launched into large, elliptical polar orbits around the Earth. After transfer to their operational orbits they will fly in formation to allow scientists to measure subtle changes in the interaction between the Earth and the Sun. The four spacecraft will look at how particles from the Sun interact with the Earth's magnetic field. Cluster will observe the magnetic and electrical interactions between the Earth and the Sun, by making direct measurements of the fields and particles trapped in the Earth's magnetic field. For the first time, small-scale fluctuations in interplanetary space will be measured between each spacecraft as they orbit the Earth.

3 Mars 2001 Odyssey: Mars Odyssey used a process called aerobraking, the spacecraft skimmed the surface of the Mars' atmosphere 332 times over nearly three months to slow down. The procedure saved more than 200 kilograms (440 pounds) of fuel, which allowed NASA to launch it on a smaller - and less expensive - Delta II 7925 launch vehicle. Aerobraking was also used on the Mars Global Surveyor mission. After a little orbital fine tuning, Odyssey began a 917 day mission to map the Martian surface and search for signs of water ice on the surface.

4 Genesis: For more than two years, Genesis collected samples of the solar wind - a stream of of charged particles from the Sun - about 1.5 million km (1 million miles) from Earth, a point where the Earth and Sun's gravities are balanced. The zone is called the Lagrange 1 point. Despite a hard landing in the Utah desert, the Genesis samples were recovered from its capsule. The samples are being studied in a special lab at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Texas.

5 High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager: Researchers believe that much of the energy released during a flare is used to accelerate, to very high energies, electrons (emitting primarily X-rays) and protons and other ions (emitting primarily gamma rays). The new approach of the HESSI mission is to combine, for the first time, high-resolution imaging in hard X-rays and gamma rays with high-resolution spectroscopy, so that a detailed energy spectrum can be obtained at each point of the image. This new approach will enable researchers to find out where these particles are accelerated and to what energies. Such information will advance understanding of the fundamental high-energy processes at the core of the solar flare problem.

6 GRACE: GRACE, twin satellites launched in March 2002, are making detailed measurements of Earth's gravity field which will lead to discoveries about gravity and Earth's natural systems. These discoveries could have far- reaching benefits to society and the world's population.

7 Aqua: Aqua carries six state-of-the-art instruments in a near-polar low-Earth orbit. The six instruments are the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU-A), the Humidity Sounder for Brazil (HSB), the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for EOS (AMSR- E), the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), and Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES). Each has unique characteristics and capabilities, and all six serve together to form a powerful package for Earth observations.

8 CONTOUR: CONTOUR (COmet Nucleus Tour) was designed to make a detailed study of the interior of at least two comets. Contact with the spacecraft was lost after an Aug. 15, 2002 engine burn that was intended to propel it out of Earth orbit. A mishap investigation board determined that overheating during the engine burn caused the spacecraft to break apart. Mission controllers were unable to restore contact with the spacecraft.

9 GALEX: The Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) is an orbiting space telescope that will observe galaxies in ultraviolet light across 10 billion years of cosmic history. Such observations will tell scientists how galaxies, the basic structures of our Universe, evolve and change. Additionally, GALEX will probe the causes of star formation during a period when most of the stars and elements we see today had their origins.

10 Hayabusa: Hayabusa (MUSES-C) is Japan's asteroid sample return mission. The journey to collect pieces from asteroid Itokawa will take about 17 months. The spacecraft will remain with the asteroid for about three months before heading back to Earth. The sample return capsule will detach from the spacecraft and plunge through Earth's atmosphere for an intense re-entry with temperatures 30 times great than those experienced by Apollo spacecraft. After re-entry, the container will parachute to Earth where it can be brought to a lab for study.

11 Beagle 2: Beagle 2 rode to Mars aboard the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter. Beagle 2 was targeted for to Isidis Planitia, a large flat sedimentary basin on Mars, but mission controllers were unable to contact the lander. Beagle 2's main mission was to search for signs of life - past or present - in the Martian soil. It was also equipped to look for signs of water and study Mars' geology and atmosphere.

12 Rosetta: Rosetta is on a 10-year mission to explore comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. It will orbit Churyumov-Gerasimenko and make observations for about two years as the comet approaches the Sun. Rosetta will also release a small lander packed with scientific instruments to make the first-ever landing on the surface of a comet.

13 Aura: Aura is part of the Earth Observing System (EOS), a program dedicated to monitoring the complex interactions that affect the globe using NASA satellites and data systems.

14 MESSENGER: MESSENGER is a scientific investigation of the planet Mercury. Understanding Mercury, and the forces that have shaped it, is fundamental to understanding the terrestrial planets and their evolution. MESSENGER's journey will include one Earth flyby, two Venus flybys and three Mercury flybys before it enters orbit in The flybys will help focus the science mission when MESSENGER enters orbit. The spacecraft is expected to orbit Mercury for one year.

15 Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will track changes in the water and dust in Mars' atmosphere, look for more evidence of ancient seas and hot springs and peer into past Martian climate changes by studying surfance minerals and layering. The orbiter will carry a powerful camera capable of taking sharp images of surface features the size of a beach ball. At the conclusion of its 2-year science mission, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will serve as a data relay station for future Mars missions.

16 New Horizons (PKB): New Horizons will help us understand worlds at the edge of our solar system by making the first reconnaissance of Pluto - the last planet in our solar system to be visited by spacecraft. New Horizons launched in January It will swing past Jupiter for a gravity boost and scientific studies in February 2007, and reach Pluto and its moons, Charon, Nix and Hydra, in July Then, as part of an extended mission, the spacecraft would head deeper into the Kuiper Belt to study one or more of the icy mini-worlds in that vast region beyond Neptune's orbit. Sending a spacecraft on this long journey will help us answer basic questions about the surface properties, geology, interior makeup and atmospheres on these bodies.

17 Astro-F: ASTRO-F is an infrared-ray astronomical satellite that seeks an understanding of the formation and evolution of galaxies.

18 Integral: Integral (International Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory) is the first space observatory that can simultaneously observe objects in gamma rays, X- rays and visible light. Its principal targets are violent explosions known as gamma-ray bursts, powerful phenomena such as supernova explosions, and regions in the Universe thought to contain black holes.

19 Space Technology 5: The New Millennium Program's (NMP) ST5 will launch three miniature spacecraft, called micro- sats, to test innovative concepts and technologies in the harsh environment of space. During flight validation of its technologies, ST5 may measure the effect of solar activity on the Earth's magnetosphere, the region of upper atmosphere that surrounds our planet.

20 COSMIC: COSMIC/FORMOSAT-3 is the Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere and Climate (COSMIC) and Taiwan's Formosa Satellite Mission #3, a joint Taiwan- U.S. project. The scientific foundation for COSMIC/FORMOSAT-3 is the radio occultation (limb sounding) technique which was developed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and Stanford University in the late 1960s to study planetary atmospheres.

21 Chandra: NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, which was launched and deployed by Space Shuttle Columbia on July 23, 1999, is the most sophisticated X-ray observatory built to date. Chandra is designed to observe X-rays from high-energy regions of the universe, such as the remnants of exploded stars. The two images of the Crab Nebula supernova remnant and its pulsar shown below illustrate how higher resolution can reveal important new features.

22 STEREO: STEREO (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) is the third mission in NASA's Solar Terrestrial Probes program, scheduled to launch in Spring 2006 aboard a single Delta II 7925 launch vehicle. This two-year mission will employ two nearly identical space-based observatories to provide the first-ever, 3-D stereoscopic images to study the nature of coronal mass ejections, or CMEs.

23 COROT: Corot will be the first mission capable of detecting rocky planets, several times larger than Earth, around nearby stars (planets outside our Solar System are referred to as "exoplanets"). It consists of a 30-centimetre space telescope.

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