GALILEO TO LOSE IO HIGH RESOLUTION DATA -- Galileo project managers have desided not to take high resolution images of Io and Europa on the day Galileo arrives at Jupiter. Galileo's tape recorder is working fine, but scientists are taking no chances. Since the atmospheric probe data is a cornerstone of the mission, the priority is making sure the probe data is recorded and relayed back to Earth. In absence of the flyby, Galileo will still conduct regular monitoring of Io's volcanoes through the entire mission. Mission planners have not ruled out the possiblity of a second close Io flyby late in the mission to make up for the data lost in the December 7th flyby.
WIND/GEOTAIL SATELLITES OBSERVE MASSIVE MAGNETIC DISTURBANCE -- A massive magnetic disturbance some 65 million miles across and traveling at 2.1 million miles an hour slammed into Earth's magnetic field on October 18th, producing intense magnetic storms and Northern Lights displays that persisted for two days.
ULYSSES PROVIDES NEW INSIGHTS ON SUN'S POLES -- Ulysses just completed its primary mission studying the magnetic envirinment of the sun's poles. Ulysses revealed that the sun's magnetic environment does not change intensity from the equator to the poles. Ulysses also revealed global differences in solar wind velocity, composition, and temperature. Scientists hope to construct a three-dimensional "image" of the sun's magnetic field. Ulysses will return for a second set of solar polar obervations in 2000-2001 when the Sun will be at its solar maximum.
INSTRUMENTS ARE SELECTED FOR NASA COMET LANDER: Rosetta project managers have choosen the instruments for the NASA comet lander Champollian. Instruments include a miniaturized camera set, acelerometers mounted on three spikes, a microscope, and mass spectrometer. Rosetta will be the first spacecraft to orbit and fly formation with a comet. Champollian will collect the first direct measurements of a comet's nucleaus.
MORE NASA BUDGET NEWS...
The ongoing budget battle on Capitol Hill has made it difficult to find out the status of NASA's fiscal 1996 budget. Indeed, the battle over the whole federal budget has basicly held NASA and other agencies in limbo. Differences in the House and Senate versions of the NASA appropriations bills still have to be worked out. It is known that the space station survived yet another effort at termination. The Cassini mission to Saturn, Mars Global Surveyor, and various missions in the Discovery program all emerged intact, as did the requested funding starts for the Lunar Prospector and New Milennium projects. Stay tuned to the Ascending Node for continual updates on the budget process.
Compiled by Michael Koller