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SOHO is ahead in the First Round of NASA's Mission Madness!

March 19, 2009

SOHO/MDI Interview

--MDI, this is EOF Goddard. We would like to update you on the NASA’s Mission Madness Round 1 status. There are still 19 more hours left for voting but so far, we are happy to report that SOHO has gotten 75% of the votes and is ahead of STS-7. Furthermore, as of right now SOHO has received the 4th most votes of all 64 missions, ahead of Hubble, Apollo 11 and even LRO. How does it feel to be so recognized?

Very gratifying. I have been taking pictures of the Sun each 3-seconds for more than 13 years now. My data is subtracted, added, divided, and looked up in tables in my computer each minute then sent to my friends on Earth. This is hard work but fun and rewarding because so many people find the data useful.

EOF Goddard: Could you please give our readers some insight on what exactly MDI is doing on SOHO?

*** MDI***
I am making maps of magnetic fields on the Sun and maps of oscillations of the Sun's visible surface. These oscillations, always present even when sunspots are not, contain information about the Sun's interior. People far away (a million miles) on Earth use the measurements of oscillations to try to learn about how and when the Sun makes sunspots.

EOF Goddard: The Sun has not been very active. What is your take on it?

*** MDI***
Fine with me. Sometimes, like in 2003, there were so many sunspots people were more interested in sunspots than the interior. Of course the spots and activity that comes with them affects people's technology right away and the interior changes take years or decades to matter. But still it will be nice when this cycle begins to grow.

EOF Goddard: Back to Mission Madness here. Round 2 could be SOHO vs. Apollo 8. Your thoughts on that possible match-up? (FYI Apollo 8 was the first manned space mission to achieve enough velocity to escape the gravitational field of the planet Earth and the first to enter the gravitation field of another body. It did not land on the moon.)

Well, all things considered, what has Apollo 8 done for you recently?

--- end of interview ---

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