The Parker Solar Probe, launched by NASA, has become the first spacecraft to fly through the outer atmosphere of the Sun- ‘Corona’ and sampled magnetic fields and particles.
The achievement would help scientists discover critical information about the sun and its influence on our solar system.
About the mission:
Launched in 2018, Parker Solar Probe will travel through the sun’s atmosphere, closer to the surface than any spacecraft before it, facing brutal heat and radiation conditions — and ultimately providing humanity with the closest-ever observations of a star.
- Parker Solar Probe will use Venus’s gravity during seven flybys over nearly seven years to gradually bring its orbit closer to the sun.
- The spacecraft will fly through the sun’s atmosphere as close as 3.9 million miles to our star’s surface, well within the orbit of Mercury and more than seven times closer than any spacecraft has come before.
Parker Solar Probe’s 3 detailed science objectives:
- Trace the flow of energy that heats and accelerates the solar corona and solar wind.
- Determine the structure and dynamics of the plasma and magnetic fields at the sources of the solar wind.
- Explore mechanisms that accelerate and transport energetic particles.
Why study Sun’s corona?
- The corona gives rise to the solar wind, a continuous flow of charged particles that permeates the solar system.
- Unpredictable solar winds cause disturbances in our planet’s magnetic field and can play havoc with communications technology on Earth.
- NASA hopes the findings will enable scientists to forecast changes in Earth’s space environment.