- ESA/NASA space mission originally known as ISPM, the International Solar Polar Mission, launched in October 1990. Its instruments were designed to yield information on the solar wind, the solar magnetic field in interplanetary space, solar radio and plasma emissions, flare particles and X-rays, galactic cosmic rays (those not emitted by the Sun) in the solar system, and neutral dust and gas of solar system and interstellar origin in the solar system, as well as gamma-ray bursts from outside the solar system. It travelled from the Earth to Jupiter in 14 months, where Jupiter’s gravitation was used to push it into a trajectory taking it over the Sun’s South Pole after 45 months in space, back through the plane of the ecliptic in 50 months, and over the Sun’s north pole after 56 months. This journey provided the first direct information on wide expanses of the solar system above and below the ecliptic never before visited by spacecraft. Its journey continued with a flight over the Sun’s north and south polar regions in 2000 and 2001, and was extended until 2009, when its transmitters were finally switched off.
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