NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Japan’s Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) are determining how to move forward with the joint Geotail mission since the discovery of the spacecraft’s last operational data recorder failed.
Originally, Geotail was equipped with two data recorders to collect the mission’s scientific data. One data recorder failed in 2012 after 20 years of collecting information about the plasma environment around the Earth. The remaining data recorder continued to collect data for another 10 years until an anomaly developed on June 28, 2022.
The JAXA team discovered the error with the recorder and conducted tests to investigate the cause and extent of the damage. Ongoing attempts to restore the recorder have failed. Without a functioning recorder, the scientific data of the American instruments can no longer be collected or downlinked. NASA, ISAS and JAXA decide the best way forward for the mission given the failure.
Geotail was launched on July 24, 1992 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, with the primary purpose of studying the structure and dynamics of the tail region of Earth’s magnetosphere – the region of space around the Earth that is controlled by the magnetic field of Earth. the Earth – using a vast array of scientific instruments. With an elongated orbit, Geotail has spent the past 30 years sailing through the invisible boundaries of the magnetosphere, collecting data about the physical process at play there. Geotail has made many scientific breakthroughs, including helping scientists better understand what moves material from the sun into the magnetosphere. It has also made discoveries beyond its intended range, such as identifying oxygen, silicon, sodium and aluminum in the lunar atmosphere.
The magnetosphere has a large intake of solar wind energy
Quote: NASA’s Geotail mission experiences an anomaly (2022, Oct. 19) retrieved Oct. 19, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-10-nasa-geotail-mission-anomaly.html
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