NASA just released cool new images of the collision zone in space where charged particles from the Sun ram into charged particles from our part of the Milky Way. Apparently, it’s like bumper cars out there—the forces change much more quickly than scientists ever expected—and if we are going to continue to explore the universe, we need to better understand what's going on. The colorful sky maps released last week came from a low-cost spacecraft called the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX). That satellite has intrigued me for more than year, because two of our business partners—Applied Defense Solutions (ADS)
and Space Engineering and Exploration (SEE)
—used our software to plan the mission
They continue to use it today to perform flight dynamics operations
. What I liked about the mission was its complicated trajectory and the fact that the flight dynamics team extended the mission duration twice during operations. They did other interesting things that we wrote about in a case study
, and Mike Loucks and Lisa Policastri of SEE went into greater depth at our 2009
You can find more information and the graphic below at the NASA site. Credit for this entry's icon goes to NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab.