iamlucky13 writes "Over 17 years ago, the Ulysses spacecraft was launched aboard the space shuttle Discovery for a unique NASA/ESA mission. While nearly all other probes travel along our solar system's ecliptic plane, Ulysses used a Jupiter gravity assist to swing 80 degrees out of plane, carrying it over the sun's poles for an unprecedented view. During a mission that lasted four times longer than planned, it has flown through the tails of several comets, helped pinpoint distant gamma-ray bursts, and provided data on the sun and its heliosphere from the better part of two solar cycles. Unfortunately, the natural reduction of power from its radioisotope thermal generator means it is now unable to even keep its attitude control fuel from freezing, and NASA has decided to formally conclude the mission on July 1."
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