Cluster Is "One Of The Best" Says U.S. Science Magazine
9 November 2000It's official. ESA's Cluster mission represents one of the most significant advances in space science over the past 12 months.
Cluster was named as one of the top 100 newcomers the Best of Whats New - during yesterdays special awards luncheon at the Tavern on the Green restaurant in New York Citys Central Park. This major event in the science calendar was covered by leading U.S. media organisations and broadcast live to TV stations across the country.
Ian Pryke, head of ESAs Washington office, was present to receive a commemorative plaque on behalf of the Cluster project team. I am delighted to receive this award on behalf of all those at ESA who have worked so hard to revive the mission and bring it to fruition, he said.
Each year, the editors of the American magazine Popular Science sift through thousands of new products and developments in technology to select those that are the most innovative and / or advance scientific knowledge. Cluster was selected by the magazines executive editor, Mariette Di Christina, as one of a handful of space missions in the Aviation and Space category.
In its citation, the magazine recognised some of the unique characteristics of the Cluster mission.
Cluster . will study the complex interactions of Earth's magnetic field and solar wind - charged particles streaming from the sun in excess of 1 million miles per hour. But the way the science will be accomplished may be of even greater note. Cluster's four orbiting spacecraft, launched in pairs in July and August, fly in a tetrahedral formation. Such precision helps pave the way for future missions that, for example, require spacecraft to work collaboratively to image distant planets.
Visitors to the Popular Science Web site will now be asked to vote for the overall Readers Choice, which will be announced on 5 January 2001.
The four Cluster spacecraft are now in the second part of their complex commissioning phase, which involves starting and checking a total of 44 separate scientific instruments. This preliminary phase is expected to be completed by Christmas. Meanwhile, the 43-metre-long wire booms on three of the spacecraft are now fully deployed, with the extension of the final booms set for next week.