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AUG

4 2010

The ‘Variable Sun’ Mission
N ASA's 'Living With a Star' (LWS) Program, a program designed to understand the causes of solar variability and its impacts on
Earth, is to launch its first mission.

The idea of “the solar constant” has been contradicted completely by the images from the modern day equipments. Thus, today it would
be more appropriate to treat the sun as a “variable star”. The sun's surface is an arena of capricious turmoil. Solar flares explode with the
power of a billion atomic bombs! Clouds of magnetized gas (CMEs) big enough to swallow planets break away from the stellar surface!!
Holes in the sun's atmosphere spew million mile-per-hour gusts of solar wind!!!
Over long periods of decades to centuries, solar activity waxes and wanes with a complex rhythm that is yet to be calculated. The most
famous "beat" is the 11-year sunspot cycle, described in many texts as a regular, clockwork process. Some cycles are intense, with many
sunspots and solar flares, while the others are mild, with relatively little solar activity.
Now an obvious question would be...why do we need to bother about these solar phenomena taking place so many light years away? Well, as
an answer,
A study by the National Academy of Sciences in 2008, confidently states that century-class solar storm could cause twenty times more
economic damage than Hurricane Katrina! Just give a thought to the increasing vulnerability of the human society to solar flare ups.
Interconnected high-tech systems today, are one of the basic needs for life! Smart power grids, GPS navigation, air travel, financial
services, emergency radio communications—they can all be knocked out by intense solar activity! Imagine ... what a plight it would be!
And thus, SDO was designed to, for the first the time in the history of NASA missions, probe solar variability. It will observe the sun faster,
deeper, and in greater detail than previous observatories, breaking barriers of time-scale and clarity that have long blocked progress in
solar physics. SDO will observe the sun at wavelengths where the sun is most variable, the extreme ultraviolet (EUV). Surges of EUV
photons heat Earth's upper atmosphere, causing the atmosphere to "puff up" and drag down low-orbiting satellites. EUV rays also break
apart atoms and molecules, creating a layer of ions in the upper atmosphere that can severely disturb radio signals. SDO will
record IMAX-quality images of the sun every 10 seconds using a bank of multi-wavelength telescopes called the
Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA).
Furthermore, SDO's Helioseismic Magnetic Imager (HMI) can actually look inside the sun at the
solar dynamo itself which is hidden from view by about 140,000 miles of overlying hot Symbol
gas. using a technique similar to seismology, SDO can probe the sun's interior
using acoustic waves generated by the sun's own boiling turbulence. HMI
detects the waves, which Of Human Limit
W
researchers on Earth can ell, the range of human mind is endless. But how
transform into fairly clear far does a human being or his technology stands?
pictures. This has been symbolised by the spacecraft
After a flawless VOYAGER 1. Most of you might be pondering that can we go farther than
launch and Pluto, can human technology go beyond the solar system? The answer is yes.
ascent on Voyager 1 is the proof to that which celebrates its birthday on September 5 every
Feb 11, year.
Solar Dynamics 10 The Voyager 1 spacecraft is a 722-kg robotic space probe of the outer Solar System and
aboard an Atlas V rocket, the beyond, launched on September 5, 1977. It is currently the farthest man-made object from
spacecraft separated from the Earth, travelling away from both the Earth and the Sun at a speed that corresponds to a greater
rocket's upper stage to begin specific orbital energy than any other probe.Though its twin space-probe, Voyager 2, was launched
a five-year mission to a few days earlier, Voyager 2 will never pass Voyager 1 as its end trajectory speed is lower.
study the sun's energy
and its influence on The original design of the spacecraft was based on that of the older Mariners. The Voyager is three-axis
space weather. stabilized systems that use celestial or gyro referenced attitude control to maintain pointing of the high-gain
Let us see what antennas toward Earth. The prime mission science payload consisted
surprises of 10 instruments (11 investigations including radio science). Only five
the Sun has investigator teams are still supported. Data are collected from the
in store Planetary Radio Astronomy (PRA) instrument and Voyager 1's Ultraviolet
for us. Spectrometer (UVS). The Attitude and Articulation Control Subsystem (AACS)
controls spacecraft orientation, maintains the pointing of the high gain antenna
towards Earth, controls attitude maneuvers, and positions the scan platform.
Electrical power is supplied by three Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators
(RTGs). As the electrical power decreases, power loads on the spacecraft must be
turned off in order to avoid having demand exceed supply.. All platform instruments on Voyager I
Voyager 1, except the UVS, have been powered down.
Twenty years ago on February 14, Voyager 1 spacecraft had sailed beyond the outermost planet in our solar system and turned its
camera inward to snap a series of final images that would be its parting valentine to the string of planets. Using data from Voyager,
scientists have discovered a strong magnetic field just outside the solar system which should not exist. It has made a number of
important discoveries about Jupiter and its satellites, the most surprising was the existence of volcanic activity on Io, which wasn't
detected by Pioneer 10 or 11. Evidence for a marginal detection of the Titan’s ionosphere has been obtained from a new analysis of the
dual-frequency Doppler data recorded during the Voyager 1 occultation in 1980.
As of August 12, 2006, Voyager 1 is over 14.96 terameters from the Sun, and has thus entered the heliosheath, the termination shock
region between the solar system and interstellar space. As of 21 December 2009, Voyager 1 was at a distance of 112.060 AU from the
Sun, which makes it the most distant human-made object from Earth. Voyager flies through the outer bounds of the heliosphere en
route to interstellar space.

The MoonWalk |6th Edition