ESA's pioneering Cluster mission is celebrating its 10th anniversary- Invitation to a media briefing on 1 September 2010

Paris, (PresseBox) - Media representatives are cordially invited to a briefing on the occasion of ten years of scientific discoveries by ESA's Cluster mission. Over the past decade, Cluster's four satellites have provided extraordinary insights into the largely invisible interaction between the Sun and Earth. The media briefing takes place at ESA's European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany, on 1 September 2010 from 11:00-12:00 am. Doors open at 10:30am.

ESA mission scientists and operations managers will present the latest and most important scientific results of Cluster and explain the operational challenges it has had to face during ten years of formation flight. A constellation of four spacecraft flying in formation around Earth since 1 September 2000, Cluster has been making the most detailed investigation ever of the interaction between the solar wind and Earth's protective magnetic field, depicting it in three dimensions.

The solar wind is a hot, thin, electrically charged gas continuously ejected by the Sun. Depending on the intensity of the magnetic activity of the Sun, the solar wind can transform into a violent solar storm. Among other results, Cluster has shown how the solar wind particles break through the protective magnetic shield hitting Earth's atmosphere. During critical space weather conditions, solar storms can lead to disruption of communication, computers, power supplies and navigation systems on Earth.

Cluster has now spent a decade passing in and out of our planet's magnetic field, returning invaluable data. New observations, made when Cluster recently crossed the heart of the auroral acceleration region, will also be presented.

For more detailed information on the Cluster mission:

Media briefing Cluster-10th anniversary
ESA/ESOC, Robert-Bosch-Str. 5, 64293 Darmstadt, Germany
1 September 2010

11:00 h
Gaele Winters, ESA Director of Operations and Infrastructure

11:05 h
Cluster-Ten years of ESA setting the agenda in multidimensional solar terrestrial science
David Southwood, ESA Director of Science and Robotic Exploration

11:15 h
Cluster-Operational challenges
Jürgen Volpp, Cluster Spacecraft Operations Manager

11:25 h
Cluster-A decade revealing the Sun-Earth connection in 3D
Philippe Escoubet, Cluster Mission Manager

11:40 h
Cluster-First multi-probing of the acceleration region of Auroras
Göran Marklund, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm

11:50 h
Questions & Answers, opportunity for individual interviews.

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