Casual Friday — Ulysses at mission's end

It’s always sad to see an old friend fade away, even when that friend is a robot. Such is the case for the international (but largely ESA-driven) Ulysses mission to study the Sun. Launched in 1990, the spacecraft has been powered by RTGs (radioisotope thermoelectric generators), and they are now generating so little power that the spacecraft is slowly freezing to death. Of course, the spacecraft’s builders knew that this would happen some day, and the spacecraft’s demise has been predicted for some time.

Still, it’s sad to see the durable little guy fade away. Here’s a video from happier times — a 15th anniversary commemoration put out by NASA in 2005:

If you’d like to read more about the Ulysses mission, make sure to drop by its JPL home page.

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