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Scripps Calls For Quick Launch Of Triana Probe To L1

"We have spent nearly $100 million and Triana could be finished and ready to go on short notice. In my view, not to proceed at this point would be a major, embarrassing waste of scientific talent and taxpayer's money. We must push forward," says Triana's principal investigator Francisco P.J.Valero.
San Diego - April 10, 2001
Triana, the first deep space Earth-observing mission, will provide a continuous view of the entire sunlit face of the rotating Earth. Scripps Institution of Oceanography scientists and leaders are currently working in collaboration with NASA officials to investigate opportunities to launch the Triana spacecraft.

In 2000, a Congressionally mandated review by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) resulted in a highly favorable report on Triana.

The report stated that the Triana mission will complement and enhance data from other missions now in operation or in development because of the unique character of the measurements obtainable at the L1 Lagrangian point (nearly one and a half million kilometers between the Sun and Earth), which allows continuous imaging of the full sunlit disk of Earth and monitoring of the solar environment upstream from Earth.

Furthermore, the report noted, such observations from L1 should provide a unique perspective to develop new databases and validate and augment existing and planned global and local interplanetary databases.

The report also stated that Triana is an exploratory mission that may open up the use of deep-space observation points such as L1 for Earth science.

The NAS task group believes that "the potential impact is sufficiently valuable to Earth science that such a mission might well have been viewed as an earlier NASA priority had adequate technology been available at reasonable cost."

Triana also is a vital instrument in our ability to detect critical space weather readings.

As noted in the NAS report, "Triana will also augment existing sun-viewing satellites at L1. (The Triana) Plasma-Mag (instruments) will enhance the time resolution and spatial coverage of solar wind data from Wind and the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE). It will complement, and may succeed, ACE in operational utility."

The four-year-old ACE, a research satellite positioned at the L1 point between the Sun and Earth, has been a major success, allowing government agencies responsible for space weather forecasting to provide reliable alerts and warnings one hour in advance of approaching large solar storms.

ACE, however, is a one-time research vehicle and this summer will enter the last year of its original five-year design life.

As stated in the NAS report: "If the ACE spacecraft is lost or its plasma or magnetometer instrument fails, then Triana, as the only upstream monitor of solar wind and interplanetary magnetic fields, could be critical to the Space Environment Center's mission."

"Triana has the powerful endorsement of the National Academy of Sciences and a practically completed spacecraft with instruments that have been integrated, tested, and calibrated," said Francisco P.J.Valero, the Triana principal investigator.

"We have spent nearly $100 million and Triana could be finished and ready to go on short notice. In my view, not to proceed at this point would be a major, embarrassing waste of scientific talent and taxpayer's money. We must push forward."

"Our first and foremost goal for the Triana spacecraft is getting it launched as soon as possible," said Charles Kennel, director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego.

"The Triana spacecraft is a vital new research tool, so the sooner it is launched the sooner it will begin to provide new data about Earth and its environment with unprecedented precision."

Related Links
Triana at Goddard
Scripps Institution Of Oceanography
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Ball Delivers Triana Radiometer To Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Boulder - Nov. 1, 2000
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., working with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), has delivered an advanced radiometer to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, for NASA's Triana mission.



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