NASA is finally going to one of our solar system's final frontiers

Geronimo Vena
Giugno 7, 2017

NASA announced this week, however, that the Solar Probe Plus will head for the sun next summer.

As per the plan, the Parker Solar Probe will be employing a combination of in situ measurements and imaging to revolutionize our understanding of the corona and expand our knowledge of the origin and evolution of the solar wind.

Solar Wind Electrons Alphas and Protons (SWEAP) Investigation: This investigation will count the most abundant particles in the solar wind - electrons, protons and helium ions - and measure their properties such as velocity, density, and temperature.

"I'm sure that there will be some surprises", he added.

A US spacecraft set to launch next year will make a series of unprecedented dives into the sun's scorching atmosphere to see how the star works and what can be done to better predict space weather events on Earth, scientists said on Wednesday.

Parker's prediction of solar wind - the intense flow of charged particles or plasma from the sun - initially was met with skepticism and even ridicule.

With the EPL-lo the Solar Probe Plus can be used as an observatory, and the Solar Probe Plus project manager appointed by the Applied Physics Laboratory, Sir Andrew Driesman said that they are looking forward to integrate some other instruments as well on this spacecraft, this all for subsequent testing on orbit science operations and at the end to come up with some new discoveries.

The spacecraft will be subjected to extreme heat and radiation from the corona, where temperatures are almost 1,377C (2,500F).

Parker is now working as a professor at University of Chicago, US.

Wide-field Imager for Solar PRobe (WISPR): These telescopes will take images of the solar corona and inner heliosphere.

Interestingly, the mission has been named in honour of astrophysicist Eugene Parker, who predicted the presence of solar winds almost 60 years ago in an article in 1958. He was a research associate beginning in 1953 at the University of Utah under Walter Elsasser, who pioneered the dynamo theory of the origin of Earth's magnetic field.

Discover & Share this Solar GIF with everyone you know. The corona is where solar winds erupt and "disrupt activities on Earth".

National Geographic reported that the Parker Solar Probe would make its first closest approach by December of 2024.

"Chandra told me many years later that he was very skeptical about it, but since he couldn't find anything wrong with the math, he figured it was worth thinking about", Parker said.

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