Spent 30 years in space. Important NASA spacecraft crashed

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Spent 30 years in space. Important NASA spacecraft came out of building

Even if the Geotail spacecraft finally stops its mission to study the Earth's magnetosphere, it will still work in space 7 times longer than expected.

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Back in 1992, NASA sent the Geotail spacecraft into orbit, which was designed to study the Earth's magnetosphere. That is, the magnetic field that envelops our planet and protects from solar radiation and solar particle fluxes that arrive at us as a result of solar flares. This device was created by American and Japanese scientists and was supposed to work in space for only 4 years. But recently, scientists from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) discovered that one of its data loggers had failed. Thus, the device can complete its 30-year mission, Space writes.

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The Geotail spacecraft was originally equipped with two data loggers. These devices worked properly for 20 years, but in 2012 one of them failed. His performance has never been restored. The 30th anniversary of the mission has come, and the second data recorder has also failed.

Spent 30 years in space. Important NASA spacecraft went down

Spent 30 years in space. An important NASA spacecraft has failed

Now scientists from NASA and JAXA are actively working to identify the cause of the breakdown and are trying to restore its operation. The first attempts in this direction were not successful. Without a single device working, Geotail can neither collect new data on the magnetic field, much less send them to Earth. If the scientists fail to bring the device back to life, then this will mean the end of its mission, which lasted 7 times longer than the scientists expected.

The name of the device directly echoes the main goal of its mission. If Geo is the Earth, then tail is translated from English as a tail. It was the tail-shaped region of the Earth's magnetic field that this apparatus studied. When the solar wind, that is, a stream of charged solar particles, collides with the Earth's magnetosphere, these particles move along the magnetic field lines and fly away into space, forming a kind of tail.

Spent 30 years in space. Important space NASA spacecraft is out of order

Spent 30 years in space. Important NASA spacecraft failed

The Geotail has been studying both the magnetic field and the fluxes of solar particles that interact with it. These devices helped to better understand the processes that occur in the magnetosphere and how the particles of the Sun affect the near-Earth space and our planet itself.

Another achievement of the device at the very beginning of its long mission was that it flew around several times The moon and discovered in its gaseous envelope, which can be considered the atmosphere of our satellite, such chemical elements as sodium, aluminum, silicon and even oxygen.

As Focus already wrote, an important apparatus NASA, called “Lucy”, which can be called an asteroid hunter, recently flew close to the Earth. He was at an altitude even lower than the ISS is – he approached the planet at a distance of only 350 km. And scientists managed to fix this close span.