Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Professor Plots Course For Sun-Studying Spacecraft

Date:
April 27, 1998
Source:
Purdue University
Summary:
A Purdue University professor and two of her doctoral students have designed the trajectory for an upcoming space mission, which may shed light on the composition of the sun.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- A Purdue University professor and two of her doctoral students have designed the trajectory for an upcoming space mission, which may shed light on the composition of the sun.

Related Articles


Kathleen Howell, professor of aeronautical and astronautical engineering at Purdue, in collaboration with her students and Jet Propulsion Laboratory colleague Martin Lo, designed the trajectory for the spacecraft that will carry out the Genesis Mission, scheduled for launch in 2001 by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The primary goal of the mission is to collect solar wind particles -- material being swept out of the sun -- and return them to Earth for analysis.

The Genesis Mission is the newest addition to NASA's Discovery Class Program, which is charged with building lower-cost, highly focused scientific spacecraft.

The solar wind particles collected will include samples of isotopes of oxygen, nitrogen, the noble gases and other elements. The spacecraft will return the samples to Earth in 2003.

"This information can be used to validate theories concerning the composition of several objects in the solar system, including the sun and planetary atmospheres," Howell says. "To successfully collect these particles, the spacecraft must be beyond the magnetosphere of Earth. However, to keep the mission operation costs low, the spacecraft needs to remain as close to Earth as possible."

The trajectory Howell designed with her students, Brian Barden of West Lafayette and Roby Wilson of Vincennes, Ind., will put the spacecraft in "orbit" near a libration point in the sun-Earth system, nearly a million miles from Earth in the direction of the sun. A libration point, or Lagrange point, is where the gravitational pull from two or more heavenly bodies, plus the centrifugal force from their rotation, cancel each other out.

"These orbits are very complicated, much more complex than the orbit of a planet around the sun, which is why we often refer to the orbit as 'near' a libration point instead of 'around' a libration point," Howell says.

Howell, who has 15 years of experience in trajectory design for libration point missions, says a spacecraft in orbit near a libration point offers a stable venue for making observations and taking data. "Satellites in this region help us better understand the environment around the sun and Earth," she says. "A trajectory about one of these points is the ideal platform for this mission."

The spacecraft will gather solar particles for about two years before it returns to Earth, where it will be retrieved from the air over the Utah desert.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Purdue University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Purdue University. "Professor Plots Course For Sun-Studying Spacecraft." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 April 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/04/980427081739.htm>.
Purdue University. (1998, April 27). Professor Plots Course For Sun-Studying Spacecraft. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 4, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/04/980427081739.htm
Purdue University. "Professor Plots Course For Sun-Studying Spacecraft." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/04/980427081739.htm (accessed March 4, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: SpaceX Launches Rocket, Satellites on Board

Raw: SpaceX Launches Rocket, Satellites on Board

AP (Mar. 2, 2015) — SpaceX launched it&apos;s 16th Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida on Sunday night. The rocket was carrying two commercial communications satellites. (March 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA EDGE: SMAP Launch

NASA EDGE: SMAP Launch

NASA (Mar. 2, 2015) — Join NASA EDGE as they cover the launch of the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) spacecraft live from Vandenberg Air Force Base.  Special guests include NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, SMAP Project System Engineer Shawn Goodman and Lt Col Brande Walton and Joseph Sims from the Air Force.  No word on the Co-Host&apos;s whereabouts. Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
Astronauts Leave Space Station for Third Spacewalk

Astronauts Leave Space Station for Third Spacewalk

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 1, 2015) — NASA Commander Barry Wilmore and Flight Engineer Terry Virts perform their third spacewalk in eight days outside the International Space Station. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spacesuit Water Leaks Not An Issue On Latest ISS Walk

Spacesuit Water Leaks Not An Issue On Latest ISS Walk

Newsy (Mar. 1, 2015) — Astronauts are ahead of schedule with hardware upgrades to the International Space Station, despite last week&apos;s spacesuit water leak scare. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins