Many folks would like to see us back on the Moon and developing its resources.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ulysses Reveals Global Solar Wind Plasma Output At 50-Year Low

Shields up, losing power to my shields, how will I defend myself?
Sensors failing, check the sensors, report, REPORT!
- LRK -

International Solar Mission to End Following Stellar Performance

February 22, 2008: The joint NASA and European Space Agency Ulysses
mission to study the sun and its influence on surrounding space is
likely to cease operations in the next few months. The venerable
spacecraft, which has lasted more than 17 years or almost four times
its expected mission lifetime, is succumbing to the harsh environment
of space.

Ulysses was the first mission to survey the space environment above
and below the poles of the sun. The reams of data Ulysses returned
have forever changed the way scientists view our star and its effects.

Here we sit on Earth in our warm bed, protected by Earth's magnetic
fields and those of our Sun, all blown out into a protective sphere..
Still, we look up and wonder what it would be like out there in a more
harsh and unprotected realm of space.

What will you do while on the Moon should the forces of nature send
energy bolts at you?
Will you have an early warning system?
Will you be dug in enough to feel as safe as you had back on Earth?

What will you do if there is a budget crunch and those needed
replacement parts can not be bought?
They got you up here and now you have be forgotten.

How will you propel yourself through space if your Solar Wind dies down?
And you were looking for a free ride.
- LRK -

Mini-Magnetospheric Plasma Propulsion (M2P2) is an advanced plasma
propulsion system that will enable spacecraft to attain unprecedented
speeds, with minimal energy and mass requirements. It will create a
large scale magnetic bubble around the spacecraft to ride the solar
winds, and accelerate the spacecraft to unprecedented speeds.


Will we even have the money to lift off?


Hmmmm, maybe time to look again at "THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS" by
Robert A. Heinlein.

Thanks for looking up with me.

Larry Kellogg

Web Site:
RSS link:
If you have a subscription to NASA Science News you probably got this
as well. - LRK -
NASA Science News for September 23, 2008

Solar Wind Loses Power, Hits 50-year Low


Sept. 23, 2008: In a briefing today at NASA headquarters, solar
physicists announced that the solar wind is losing power.

"The average pressure of the solar wind has dropped more than 20%
since the mid-1990s," says Dave McComas of the Southwest Research
Institute in San Antonio, Texas. "This is the weakest it's been since
we began monitoring solar wind almost 50 years ago."

McComas is principal investigator for the SWOOPS solar wind sensor
onboard the Ulysses spacecraft, which measured the decrease. Ulysses,
launched in 1990, circles the sun in a unique orbit that carries it
over both the sun's poles and equator, giving Ulysses a global view of
solar wind activity:


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."

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Sep 22, 2008 - Bill Action
Introduced: H.R. 6990: To establish the independent Fannie Mae and
Freddie Mac Investigative Commission to...

Rep. Marcy Kaptur [D-OH] introduced H.R. 6990: To establish the
independent Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Investigative Commission to
investigate the officers and directors at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
responsible for making the decisions that led to the enterprises'
financial instability and the subsequent Federal conservatorship of
such enterprises.
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Sep 22, 2008 - Bill Action
Introduced: H.R. 6993: To authorize the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration and the National...

Rep. Charles Melancon [D-LA] introduced H.R. 6993: To authorize the
National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration to procure, launch, and operate the
next generation of weather forecasting satellites.
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