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A solar storm threatened the lives of the astronauts on the space station and the shuttle

The astronauts of the Discovery crew and the 14th crew of the space station were required to spend the night in relatively protected places. In addition, the storm apparently caused a malfunction in the station's navigation system.

We are used to treating the sun as a constant and calm source of light and heat to such an extent that sometimes it is easy to forget that it is a terrible inferno, the temperature of the surface of the sun is about 5,000 degrees Celsius and even reaches 15,000,000 degrees in its core. The sun has an 11-year cycle during which it goes from a relatively calm state to a stormy period, or then storms are formed that blow away electrically charged particles that are sometimes also directed to the earth.

This year, the sun is supposed to be at its quietest, however, last week the astronauts on the space station and the shuttle were ordered to sleep in "protected areas" - the middle deck of the shuttle and the Destiny laboratory on the space station. These are the innermost areas and are therefore more protected from radiation. NASA spokesman John Ira Petty said in an interview to that the crews were not in danger at any stage of the mission and were directed to these areas only to avoid having to wake up the astronauts during their sleep.

One of the main tasks of the International Space Station is as a practice for a manned mission to Mars during which the astronauts will have to deal with "trouble" such as solar storms and maybe even a micro-meteor impact as happened to the space shuttle when it arrived at the space station. Only a few of the particles in the solar storm reach the shuttle area, despite its location in "space", the Earth's magnetic field directs most of the solar wind towards the poles where it can be observed reacting on the Earth's atmosphere as the aurora borealis.

Damage to the station gyroscope

The effects of radiation on humans is not a very pleasant topic, but its harmful effect was probably also felt by one of the main gyroscopes of the space station, which helps stabilize it. Some of the station's devices were turned off in advance to avoid damage, additional satellites such as the Envisat satellite of ESA that monitors weather and environmental quality were almost completely turned off, and the Chinese news agencies also reported problems with shortwave radio communication.

The fourth spacewalk is over

On Sunday another eruption was observed but despite this it was decided not to return the space shuttle yet. On the night of Monday-Tuesday, the astronauts Korvem and Vogelsang left for another spacewalk, the fourth of the number during which they folded the left side of the P6 solar panel, the right side will be folded by the STS 117 mission in March 2007. During the spacewalk, the astronaut Korvem became the fifth person in history in terms of duration of stay in "Space walks". With this the shuttle crew completes a very successful mission during which they demonstrated great resourcefulness and improvisational ability.
The two panels that have so far been used by the station to generate electricity will be moved to another place in the station. The International Space Station now receives its power supply from a new panel uploaded to it on flight STS-115, and connected during two spacewalks in the current operation.

Images from
Images from

A solar flare on the night between December 17 and 18 is expected to reach Earth on the 20th

Solar flares photographed through a Cornado telescope, next to which the Earth is shown to illustrate size. It is forbidden to look at the sun without special protective equipment, especially not through binoculars/telescope.

2 תגובות

  1. People who don't know spelling and grammar should not publish their words in the plural - instead of mistaking it for eagles - chel - sometimes, a shemesh appears in an article in the feminine language and then the writer switches to the masculine language! What happened, you can't go over the text before publishing? Shame and shame - who was your teacher? where did you study

  2. Minor error correction - instead of "the shuttle now receives its power supply from a new panel" it should be "the space station now receives its power supply from a new panel"

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