NASA Will Launch New Mission to Study Closely the Sun's Atmosphere

10 August, 2018, 17:27 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • Journey Towards The Sun NASA To Launch First Sun Skimming Spacecraft

Brad Tucker, of the Australian National University's Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, said: 'Understanding the activity of the sun and predicting weather from it is crucial if we really want to have humans explore space more, including working and living on the moon and Mars'.

"It's of fundamental importance for us to be able to predict space weather much the way we predict weather on Earth", explained Alex Young, a solar scientist at NASA.

Over the course of its mission, the Parker Solar Probe will orbit the sun 24 times while being subjected to extreme heat and radiation, with temperatures expected to reach 1,377C, almost hot enough to melt steel.

The corona is a "very odd, unfamiliar environment for us".

Flying closer than any man-made object has ever done (the Helios 2 came within 27 miles of the surface in 1976), the robotic craft will fly through the Sun's 1,400° corona at the end of its 4 million-mile journey. Mission leaders say this may sound extremely impressive, but it's really particularly risky, given the conditions prevailing in that place, so there's a huge chance that $ 1.5 billion will be thrown into the ring. After the Parker Solar Probe blasts off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on August 11, 2018, it will become the first spacecraft ever to fly through the Sun's scorching atmosphere, known as the corona.

(NASA) - NASA's historic Parker Solar Probe mission will revolutionize our understanding of the Sun, where changing conditions can propagate out into the solar system, affecting Earth and other worlds.

Temperatures in the corona are up to 500,000 degrees celsius and, for an unknown reason, far exceeds the heat of the sun's core.


The spacecraft is expected to make its closest approach to the sun in the year 2024, as it flies 3.9 million miles above the solar surface. In the Parker Solar Mission, a car-shaped spacecraft will orbit the sun's corona. In the next few years, the probe will orbit around 61 lakh kilometers from the Sun.

Fox said scientists have already studied the corona "every way imaginable", and a closer look is now needed.

To fulfill that task, thanks to the advances in thermal engineering, the front part of the solar shield of the spacecraft will withstand temperatures close to 1,377 degrees Celsius.

"We need to get into this action region, where all of these mysteries are actually occurring". A series of instruments on board the spacecraft will measure the magnetic and electric fields, plasma waves and high energy particles.

There is also a white light imager, taking pictures of what the spacecraft is about to "plow through", said Fox.

A 45-minute launch window opens on Saturday at 3:48am local time (1:18pm IST).

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