Astronomy for GCSE






Astronomy... Space 2069

Whilst having a little time-out from working my way through the 'Astronomy for GCSE' book I came across a copy of Space 2069 by David Whitehouse, all about 'After Apollo: back to the Moon, to Mars, and beyond'.

It was a nice (and relatively quick) read. I found particular interest in reading about the various probes we have launched into space. While the vastness of space itself can certainly be mind-boggling, the number of probes we have launched (and the billions spent) is also, and while this book documents many of the missions and presents them as the author's easy-to-follow narrative, it's not an encyclopedia. For that, there is perhaps [this page on Wikipedia] which provides various lists along with small thumbnail images which can be clicked on for more information.

I would like to bring together here a combination of the two; a collection of probes of interest (to me at least) in a visually-interesting manner (larger pictures); a number of probes I recalled from my childhood when I heard about such missions, and beyond, from the Mars rovers of the 1990s/2000s to the comet-visiting Rosetta probe and Philae lander.

  GGS Wind (satellite)... launched on 1st November 1994 on a Delta II rocket.

It was deployed to study radio waves and plasma that occur in the solar wind and in the Earth's magnetosphere. The spacecraft's original mission was to orbit the Sun at the L1 Lagrangian point, but this was delayed to study the magnetosphere and near lunar environment when the SOHO and ACE spacecraft were sent to the same location. Wind has been at L1 continuously since May 2004, and is still operating [to this day (November 2021) ... [It] currently has enough fuel to last ... until at least 2070. Wind continues to collect data ... [and has] contributed data to over 5810 scientific publications.

Wind data can be accessed using the SPEDAS software.

Wind is the sister ship to GGS Polar, terminated in 2008 after running out of fuel [link].




[To be continued...]

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