David Kirkpatrick

October 15, 2008

NASA and the weakening solar bubble

Filed under: Media, Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:15 pm

Here’s a discussion on an odd and a little unsettling topic. Probabaly just part of usual long-term fluctuations, but we may feel some effects in the meantime. I’ve blogged on the IBEX project before here.

The release:

NASA to Discuss Mission to Study Sun’s Weakening Protective Bubble

GREENBELT, Md., Oct. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — NASA will hold a media teleconference on Friday, Oct. 17, at 1 p.m. EDT, to preview the Interstellar Boundary Explorer, or IBEX, mission. The spacecraft may confirm if the sun’s protective bubble surrounding our solar system, called the heliosphere, is about to shrink and weaken. IBEX also will be the first spacecraft to image and map the dynamic interactions taking place where the hot solar wind slams into the cold expanse of space.

(LOGO:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO )

The heliosphere acts as a shield for our solar system, warding off most of the galactic cosmic rays. Recent data indicate the solar wind’s global pressure is the lowest seen since the beginning of the space age.

IBEX is set to launch Oct. 19 from the Kwajalein Atoll, a part of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Panelists will be:

– David McComas, IBEX principal investigator at Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio

– Nathan Schwadron, co-investigator and IBEX Science Operations Center lead at Boston University

– Stephen Fuselier, co-investigator and IBEX-Lo Sensor lead at Lockheed-Martin Advanced Technology Center in Palo Alto, Calif.

– Eric Christian, program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington

Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO
AP Archive:  http://photoarchive.ap.org/
PRN Photo Desk photodesk@prnewswire.com
Source: NASA
   
Web Site:  http://www.nasa.gov/

October 14, 2008

NASA to webcast IBEX Spacecraft launch

Very cool!

The release:

NASA to Webcast IBEX Spacecraft Launch on Pegasus Rocket Oct. 19

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., Oct. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The first NASA spacecraft to image and map the dynamic interactions taking place where the hot solar wind slams into the cold expanse of space will be launched on Sunday, Oct. 19, at 1:48 p.m. EDT, during a launch window that extends from 1:44 p.m. to 1:52 p.m. The two-year mission will begin from the U.S. Army’s Reagan test site at Kwajalein Atoll, a part of the Marshall Islands in the south Pacific Ocean.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO )

Called the Interstellar Boundary Explorer, or IBEX, the spacecraft will conduct extremely high-altitude orbits above Earth to investigate and capture images of processes taking place at the farthest reaches of the solar system. Known as the interstellar boundary, this region marks where the solar system meets interstellar space.

Carrying the IBEX spacecraft into orbit will be a Pegasus XL rocket built by Orbital Sciences Corporation of Dulles, Va. The Pegasus will be deployed from the Orbital Sciences L-1011 aircraft over the Pacific Ocean about 125 miles north of Kwajalein. The spacecraft also was built by Orbital Sciences.

Live coverage of the IBEX launch will be provided via the Web. No live NASA Television coverage is planned. The live streaming video of the countdown and launch will be available on the NASA home page at:

http://www.nasa.gov/

Streaming video and audio coverage will begin at 12:15 p.m. on Oct. 19. It will conclude after spacecraft separation from the Pegasus, approximately 12 minutes after launch.

For more information about IBEX, including a launch blog, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/ibex

Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO
AP Archive:  http://photoarchive.ap.org/
PRN Photo Desk photodesk@prnewswire.com
Source: NASA
   
Web Site:  http://www.nasa.gov/