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Space Science

Ulysses Space Mission Finally Coming To an End 45

Dusty writes "After several false alarms, the Ulysses Mission is finally ending. According to the Spacecraft Operations Manager's latest status report, the last track will be on 30th June 2009 from 15:25 until 20:20 UTC. 'We've tried to bolster our dwindling tracking allocation with some success by grabbing antenna time released on short notice (mostly by the Spitzer Project). However, weekly data return figures are now typically 10% or less. And soon, even 512 bps from 70m antennas will be a thing of the past.' Further details about Ulysses' 18-year mission are available from NASA and the ESA. We discussed the failing spacecraft last summer when it looked like its fuel was going to freeze, but through clever engineering, experts managed to squeeze out another year.
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Ulysses Space Mission Finally Coming To an End

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  • Ulysses (Score:1, Funny)

    by Threni ( 635302 )

    Between you and me I never really understood what it was all about anyway...

    • Just wait until Finnegan's Wake.

      At least Ulysses was English.

      • by e9th ( 652576 )
        I always thought he was Greek.
      • by R2.0 ( 532027 )

        "At least Ulysses was English."

        Sure about that? I got a 760 on the (old) SAT English section, got a "5" on the English AP, and I couldn't get past the first page.

        I really believe that no one has EVER read the book, but since they are to embarrassed to admit it, they just make shit up. And since no one else has read it, whose to say it's not true?

        • I got a 760 on the (old) SAT English section, got a "5" on the English AP

          whose to say

          You sure about that? ;)

          I gave up on Joyce during Portrait of the Artist, somewhere in his school days. I vaguely remember something about cabbages, but I've managed to excise the rest.

          • by R2.0 ( 532027 )

            "whose to say"

            My excellent SAT results got me into an excellent college, where I proceeded to drink away so many brain cells I left college measurably dumber than when I entered. Funny how that works.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by QuoteMstr ( 55051 )

        Uncyclopedia has a brilliant summary of Finnegan's Wake [wikia.com]:

        A Thirty-Fifth Century Chef d'eswerve

        runningisthe river past the begorrahbastards that wake o Finnegan (Irish innished thirtyfourthirtytwo), truly a myopic spectacle! Written in pictures or cats, perhaps both - femalines?

        Tout ceci et toi avez employé dans le développement de l'ancien n'avez pas pu rester seulement dans les pages du réseau !. Pour (tajenaiiiiiscmm) celui, et dans une certaine mesure le reste de l'organisation de cette inf

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      Maybe it was a mistake naming a probe something that resembles "Useless".

      • Yeah, that's honestly what I read it as at first, "Useless Space Mission Finally Coming To An End". I skimmed through while still on that thought, and reading "but through clever engineering, experts managed to squeeze out another year" made me wonder if these were a bunch of people doing all they could to waste time.
  • Bloomsday (Score:2, Informative)

    But June 16 is Bloomsday. How could they not end Ulysses on Bloomsday. That's when it all happens anyway.
  • by unlametheweak ( 1102159 ) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @01:57PM (#28496055)

    Seems like they're going to abandon the space craft as garbage, contributing yet again to intergalactic pollution. If you love this universe you should keep it clean.

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @02:42PM (#28496357) Journal

      abandon the space craft as garbage, contributing yet again to intergalactic pollution.

      Don't worry, future cockroaches will put it in a museum.

    • by Heed00 ( 1473203 )

      Guess I'll go clean it up then...

      Anyone have a spare metaphasic shielded space ship, a pair of welding goggles and a sturdy trash bag I can borrow?
    • by Rashdot ( 845549 )

      It's impossible to pollute the universe because everything belongs in it anyway.

      All we're doing is rearrange some of its particles, and so far it doesn't seem to mind.

      • by karnal ( 22275 )

        Oh I think it just hasn't gotten pissed off enough about the rearranging.... yet.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bencoder ( 1197139 )
      Do you know how fracking big the universe is? Even just our little solar system. This thing is orbiting the sun, like a planet. A planet the size of a small car. There's a lot of space around it. Even if we mined the whole planet and sent up as many of them as we could, we couldn't send up more than the mass of the earth. There would be a tiny tiny miniscule chance of them hitting each other.

      Please, have some respect for the scale here. I take it when you're visiting people's houses, you don't leave behi
      • by unlametheweak ( 1102159 ) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @04:35PM (#28497411)

        I take it when you're visiting people's houses, you don't leave behind any flakes of your skin, or any molecules or crumbs of any part of you behind? Hypocrite.

        I'll have you know that I molt once a year in the privacy of my bathroom. No hypocrisy here.

      • Yet, in 3000 years, some rich dude idiot's son is going to ram his spacecar into a piece of space junk left over from a NASA mission and die. His father will sue NASA for an obscene amount of spacedollars and win. I think due diligence should be part of future space missions and include an way to guide the dying spacecraft to closest star or blackhole.

        It'll happen, you read it here first!

  • Should I tag this story "sun" or not??
  • by e9th ( 652576 ) <e9th@@@tupodex...com> on Saturday June 27, 2009 @02:35PM (#28496293)
    Here [esa.int] is a short summary of its results. I especially like this one:

    Ulysses collected rare samples of interstellar helium isotopes, supplying evidence to support the idea that the Universe will expand forever because insufficient matter was created in the Big Bang to halt its outward march.

  • Eighteen years? What's with that? I thought Odysseus' journey was only 10 years.

    Are they still mad about that whole Trojan Horse thing? Get over it! Sheesh, you ended up with a city and an empire after all...

  • At 18, you'd think Ulysses would get a vote on the topic.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Missions like these are what space exploration should be about, at least in this stage.

    Humans do have a future in space, but unfortunately not a present. There are still so many things we don't know about our neighborhood (Solar system) and getting people up there is so expensive that to me at least, robotic exploration and hard science make more sense for now.

    A mission like GOCE for example, designed to map out the gravity of our Earth seems a million times more inspiring than any Constellation simply beca

  • by hcdejong ( 561314 ) <hobbes&xmsnet,nl> on Sunday June 28, 2009 @12:13PM (#28504457)

    Playing with this Java applet [esa.int] that shows Ulysses' position relative to Earth, Ulysses will be a lot closer to Earth in 2013. It'd be interesting to see if the shorter distance will make up for 3 more years of decay of the RTG.

This process can check if this value is zero, and if it is, it does something child-like. -- Forbes Burkowski, CS 454, University of Washington