Introducing ESA Vigil: Earth’s Devoted Solar Defender

The Vigil space weather monitoring mission. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — It’s the first mission of its kind, set to monitor our active and unpredictable Sun and help protect us from its violent outbursts – and it has a new name.

Once known as “Lagrange,” ESA’s upcoming space weather mission needed a new name that would reflect its vital role: helping to protect Earth’s infrastructure, satellites, inhabitants and space explorers from unpredictable but violent solar events like solar flares and ‘coronal mass ejections’.

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Incoming! SpaceX Falcon 9 Stage Heads for Crash on the Moon

A high-definition image of the Mars Australe lava plain on the Moon taken by Japan’s Kaguya lunar orbiter in November 2007. (Credit: JAXA/NHK)

PARIS (ESA PR) — The Moon is set to gain one more crater. A leftover SpaceX Falcon 9 upper stage will impact the lunar surface in early March, marking the first time that a human-made debris item unintentionally reaches our natural satellite.

In 2015 the Falcon 9 placed NOAA’s DSCOVR climate observatory around the L1 Lagrange point, one of five such gravitationally-stable points between Earth and the Sun. Having reached L1, around 1.5 million km from Earth, the mission’s upper stage ended up pointed away from Earth into interplanetary space.

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Orbital Insertion Burn a Success, Webb Arrives at L2

Artist rending showing light reflecting off of the primary and secondary mirrors of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, after it has deployed in space. (Credits: NASA/Mike McClare)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Today, at 2 p.m. EST, Webb fired its onboard thrusters for nearly five minutes (297 seconds) to complete the final postlaunch course correction to Webb’s trajectory. This mid-course correction burn inserted Webb toward its final orbit around the second Sun-Earth Lagrange point, or L2, nearly 1 million miles away from the Earth.

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Name ESA’s New Mission!

To ensure a robust capability to monitor, nowcast and forecast potentially dangerous solar events, ESA has initiated the assessment of two possible future space weather missions. (Credit: ESA/A. Baker)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA needs you. We need a name for our new spacecraft. Its mission? To spot potentially hazardous solar storms before they reach Earth.

The new space weather mission will keep constant watch over our unpredictable and often unruly star, sending back a steady stream of data to ESA’s Space Weather Service Network

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