23 January 2023
The joint NASA-JAXA Geotail mission has ended. The spacecraft has been in orbit for 30 years.
Geotail was launched on July 24, 1992. During his work, he collected a huge set of data on the structure and dynamics of the magnetosphere, the protective magnetic bubble of the Earth. The high-quality data obtained by the spacecraft has been published in more than a thousand scientific publications.
The first Geotail data logger failed in 2012, and the second one continued to work until June 28, 2022. The mission's operations were terminated on November 28, 2022, after remote repair attempts failed.
"Geotail has been a very productive satellite, and this was the first joint NASA–JAXA mission," said Don Fairfield, honorary astronaut scientist at the Goddard Space Flight Center. "The mission has made an important contribution to our understanding of how the solar wind interacts with the Earth's magnetic field, causing magnetic storms and auroras."
Geotail passed through the invisible boundaries of the magnetosphere, collecting data on the physical phenomena occurring there. He helped scientists understand how quickly material from the Sun enters the magnetosphere. The spacecraft made a contribution to the study of physical processes occurring at the boundary of the magnetosphere and made it possible to identify oxygen, silicon, sodium and aluminum in the Moon's atmosphere.
The mission also helped determine the location of such a phenomenon as magnetic reconnection, which is associated with the transportation of material and energy from the Sun into the magnetosphere. This discovery paved the way for the MMS mission launched in 2015.
Geotail has collaborated with many other NASA space missions over the years. Thanks to the orbit, which sometimes removed it from the Earth by almost 200,000 kilometers, the spacecraft helped to obtain additional data from remote regions of the magnetosphere. Geotail also participated in the study of the mechanisms of the formation of auroras.