Guest Article
NASA’S STEREO Mission Turns 10 Madhulika Guhathakurta
STEREO Program Scientist, NASA Headquarters
 
Stereo Mission celebrates 10 years
 
Before the Heliophysics Solar TErretrial RElations Observatory (STEREO) mission was launched ten years ago, on 25th of October in 2006, we were only able to take observations of the sun and solar wind from Earth’s perspective. STEREO’s revolutionary mission design, with one spacecraft positioned in orbit ahead of Earth and one behind, afforded us different views of the sun simultaneously. This mission has advanced the art and science of space weather forecasting more than any other spacecraft or solar observatory. By monitoring the Sun from widely different angles simultaneously, they provide previously impossible early warnings of explosive events on the Sun as they develop on the solar far side, that may pose threatening conditions for both earth-bound commerce and national security, as well as orbiting satellites and probes, both robotic and human-tended.
 
One spacecraft is positioned ahead of Earth and one behind to provide different views
 
STEREO was also launched to improve our understanding of the genesis, evolution of solar corona, the origins and propagation of Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) and the solar wind, and better understanding of the trajectory of Solar Energetic Particles (SEPs) and planetary impacts of CMEs and the solar wind – phenomena that pervade out to the far reaches of our solar system carrying charged plasma and radiation that interacts actively with interplanetary and planetary bodies. All of these events and phenomena form the basis for space weather conditions impacting Earth and other objects and planetary systems in our solar system.
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