Thursday, February 11, 2010

NASA Solar Dynamic Observatory Launched

The NASA Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) was successfully launched this morning. The SDO satellite includes 5 Radiation Hardened Coldfire CPUs running RTEMS. The Coldfire/RTEMS computers run many of the I/O functions and one of the instruments. A very nice graphic of the mission is here. The following is the description of the project from the SDO Project Site:
SDO: The Solar Dynamics Observatory is the first mission to be launched for NASA's Living With a Star (LWS) Program, a program designed to understand the causes of solar variability and its impacts on Earth. SDO is designed to help us understand the Sun's influence on Earth and Near-Earth space by studying the solar atmosphere on small scales of space and time and in many wavelengths simultaneously.

SDO's goal is to understand, driving towards a predictive capability, the solar variations that influence life on Earth and humanity's technological systems by determining

  • how the Sun's magnetic field is generated and structured
  • how this stored magnetic energy is converted and released into the heliosphere and geospace in the form of solar wind, energetic particles, and variations in the solar irradiance.
Congratulations to the folks at NASA Goddard on a successful launch and good luck in meeting their science goals. I look forward to the new insights we will gain into the Sun.

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