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SDO Scientists Discuss Advanced Mission to Study Our Sun
January 21, 2010

NASA hosted a briefing on Thursday, Jan. 21 on the upcoming launch and science of an unprecedented mission to study the sun and its dynamic behavior. The briefing on the Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, mission was held in Washington and the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Participants included Richard Fisher, Heliophysics Division Director; Madhulika Guhathakurta, SDO Program Scientist; Dean Pesnell, SDO Project Scientist; and Elizabeth Citrin, SDO Project Manager.

Scheduled to launch February 9, SDO will take measurements and images of the sun in multiple wavelengths for at least five years during its primary science mission. It will collect a staggering 1.5 terabytes of data daily, the equivalent of downloading a half million songs a day. SDO is the first space weather research network mission in NASA's Living With a Star Program. The spacecraft's long-term measurements will give solar scientists in-depth information about changes in the sun's magnetic field and insight into how those changes affect Earth.

Center Contact: Don Savage, 301-286-8982
HQ Contact: Dwayne Brown, 202-358-1726
For more info: www.nasa.gov/sdo

Richard Fisher,
Heliophysics Division Director, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC.

CUT 1 (:08): Fisher: "The SDO is the cornerstone foundation mission for the next decade of solar research."
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CUT 2 (:16): Fisher: "The research benefits from this have proven to not only of value culturally and intellectually but they have some research benefit and value to our society in the sense that they are politically important and have economic impact."
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Madhulika (Lika) Guhathakurta,
SDO Program Scientist, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC

CUT 3 (:27): Guhathakurta: "SDO is designed to probe solar variability unlike in any mission at NASA or even internationally. It will observe the sun faster, deeper and in greater detail than any previous observations, breaking barriers of time, scale and clarity that have long blocked progress in solar physics. "
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CUT 4 (:17): Guhathakurta: "SDO is the solar variability mission. It is going to revolutionize our view of the sun and it will reveal how solar activity affects our planets and helps us anticipate what lies ahead."
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Dean Pesnell,
SDO project scientist, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

CUT 5 (:24): Pesnell: "We know how much SOHO and other spacecraft have revolutionized solar physics. SDO has been designed to take advantage of what we have learned from those missions and I see this as a revolutionary mission and the data that SDO produces, in five to ten years we going to look back and be amazed at what we learned from it."
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CUT 6 (:29): Pesnell: "But the most significant change is simply going to be we are sending down so many more images of the sun. We are going to send down an image from AIA every one and a quarter seconds. If we look at the comparison with SOHO the best was about every twelve minutes. And if we look at the STEREO space craft which is orbiting the sun now, it what be about every three minutes, so we are looking at things in a much higher time cadence."
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