As you see from the post dates, this blog is no longer maintained.


Ulysses - freezing to death is the Sun? How does it work? What's Solar Wind? What's the heliosphere? What's a gravity-assist manoeuvre? What is "space weather"?

"Ulysses, a pioneering ESA/NASA mission, was launched in October 1990 to explore uncharted territories – the regions above and below the Sun’s poles - and study our star’s sphere of influence, or heliosphere, in the four dimensions of space and time.

Originally designed for a lifetime of five years, the mission has surpassed all expectations. The reams of data Ulysses has returned have forever changed the way scientists view the Sun and its effect on the space surrounding it." (link)

The mission will end because of "dwindling electrical power on-board the spacecraft, especially to power the internal heaters required to prevent the attitude control fuel from freezing. Once this fuel freezes, the spacecraft can longer be manoeuvred to keep it pointing at the Earth to maintain its data downlink". (Ulysses Mission Operations Team)

Go to Cold Peril: The Continuing Adventures of Ulysses to read the script of a podcast about the Ulysses Mission
Listen to this story via streaming audio, a downloadable file.

Read more about the Sun and the Ulysses Mission on these pages:

Ulysses Mission overview from ESA

How the Sun affects us on Earth

The Ulysses Space Craft

Click on the picture below to see it full size. It is a screen shot of the ESA's Space Science Missions web site display of information about 10 ESA missions by using a comprehensive 3D model Solar System environment. It shows where the 10 ESA satellites were at the moment I took the shot. Click on this link, then on the Space Science Missions choice, and then Solar System View. (There are other interesting views at that page, too. Go investigate it!)