Testing has started at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, on a concept for a potentially revolutionary propulsion system that could send spacecraft to the edge of our solar system, the heliopause, faster than ever before.
In this concept, long, very thin, bare wires construct the large, circular E-Sail that would electrostatically repel the fast moving solar protons. The momentum exchange produced as the protons are repelled by the positively charged wires would create the spacecraft’s thrust. “The E-Sail would use these protons to propel the spacecraft.” Extending outward from the center of the spacecraft, 10 to 20 electrically charged, bare aluminum wires would produce a large, circular E-Sail that would electrostatically repel the fast moving protons of the solar wind.
The Finnish Meteorological Institute (Finnish: Ilmatieteen laitos, Swedish: Meteorologiska institutet, or simply FMI) is the government agency responsible for gathering and reporting weather data and forecasts in Finland.
It is a part of the Ministry of Transport and Communications but it operates semi-autonomously.
The Institute is an impartial research and service organisation with expertise covering a wide range of atmospheric science activities other than gathering and reporting weather data and forecasts. The headquarters of the Institute is in Kumpula Campus, Helsinki, Finland.
The Finnish Meteorological Institute is one of the few places in Finland where space research takes place. The institute has been a part of several high-profile NASA and ESA missions, such as Phoenix, Mars Science Laboratory, Rosetta and BepiColombo, in addition to leading a lander mission of their own, MetNet. They worked with Spain and the United States to contribute to the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) on Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity).