The official ACE logo
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Image courtesy of NASA
ACE Mission Page
Have you ever wondered what you are made of? Where did the elements
come from that make up your body? The elements that make up your body are the same elements found on the Earth. Where did those Earth elements come from? Most would say that the building blocks of the Earth came from the Sun...and that the Sun's material came from the Milky Way galaxy
, and the galaxy's material came from the universe...
So you see, if we can better understand what makes up the universe, our galaxy, and our Sun, we can understand what makes up our solar system, the Earth, and even our own bodies! Now there is a spacecraft designed with instruments to do just this! The ACE (Advanced Compostion Explorer) was launched in August 1997. The main goal of ACE is find out about what makes up Sun, our solar system and our galaxy.
What do you think of when someone says, "how's the weather?" Do you say it's rainy or hot or windy? Well, there's another kind of weather you probably didn't think of - spaceweather! The ACE satellite acts as a spaceweather station while in orbit. It helps scientists make forecasts (just like here on Earth!) and predict stormsthat are caused by explosions on the Sun - coronal mass ejections.
The ACE mission has had an extremely successful mission so far. It recently (June 1998) made some exciting discoveries about coronal mass ejections. Here's an animation which describes more...
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