Changing Solar System

Ulysses ©ESAUlysses ©ESANASA will hold a media teleconference Tuesday, Sept. 23, at 16:30 UTC, to discuss data from the joint NASA and European Space Agency Ulysses mission that reveals the sun's solar wind is at a 50-year low. The sun's current state could result in changing conditions in the solar system.

Ulysses was launched by Space Shuttle Discovery in October 1990. It headed out to Jupiter, arriving in February 1992 for the gravity-assist manoeuvre that swung the craft into its unique solar orbit. It orbited the Sun three times and performed six polar passes.

Ulysses was the first mission to survey the space environment above and below the poles of the sun. The reams of data Ulysses returned have changed forever the way scientists view our star and its effects. The venerable spacecraft has lasted more than 17 years - almost four times its expected mission lifetime.

Is this gonna change the sunspots on solarcycle 24 and the conditions? Will there be a maximum in 2011?