NASA To Launch Solar Probe For Mission To “Touch The Sun”

Due to launch in the summer of 2018, the Parker Solar Probe will soon begin a mission to teach us new things and answer decades old questions about our nearest and most important star, the sun. The probe, recently re-named for astrophysicist Eugene M. Parker, who discovered the phenomena known as “solar winds”, will travel closer to the sun’s surface than any other man-made craft. What does this new mission stand to teach us?

Solar Probe Plus observing the Sunjpg

Image Source: Wikimedia

Understanding Solar Storms

“Solar winds” are fluxes of charged particles that stream from the sun outwards into space. They‘re the result of coronal mass ejections from the sun, which can cause geomagnetic storms that damage satellite systems and disable power grids here on Earth. Through the deployment of the Parker Solar Probe, NASA hopes to learn more about this solar activity and gain other insights into space weather and the surface of the sun.

Built To Endure And Probe The Force Of The Sun

Shaped like a flashlight and as large as a car, the Parker Solar Probe has been built to endure temperatures in excess of 2552 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s set to travel within four million miles of the sun, where it will probe electrical and magnetic properties of solar plasma. It will also gather the components of solar winds as part of a project called “Solar Wind Electron Alphas and Protons Investigation”.

Solar Probe Plus Venus flybyjpg

Image Source: Wikimedia

Insight Into Other Stars

Researchers are hoping the $1.6 billion mission will enable them to better understand what physical processes within the sun create the solar wind, and even predict major events before they affect systems on earth. In addition to possibly providing a new level of insight into our nearest star, scientists are also eager to see what the mission will tell us about star activity beyond our solar system and across the universe.

Are you eager to see what will result from NASA’s attempt to “touch the sun”? Comment and let us know your thoughts.

Article Sources

https://www.theguardian.com
http://www.pbs.org
http://www.nbcnewyork.com

 

 

 

Camryn Shea
 

Is a longtime business consultant and a writer who loves to read about the Maker Movement that’s been made possible through technology. In her free time, she enjoys antiquing and touring vineyards.

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