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There are billions upon billions of stars in our galaxy, but they’re all so far away.
Because of that, we’ve had to extrapolate pretty much everything we know about stars
from our nearest star, the sun.
At just about 93 million miles from Earth, the sun is a stone’s throw away compared
to the next closest star.
But despite our relative proximity, we still have some burning questions about the object
that’s holding this whole 8 ring solar circus together.
So NASA decided we’re going to walk right up to the sun and rub our nose in it.
In 2018, NASA will launch a solar probe that will travel closer to the sun than any spacecraft
before it.
At it’s closest point, the probe will be within just 3.9 million miles of the sun,
almost seven times closer than the next closest mission, Helios 2 from 1976.
The probe will swoop through the sun’s corona, which is the aura of plasma around the sun
visible during a solar eclipse, not the adult beverage.
It’s able to get within sniffing distance because of advances in material technology.
The probe’s carbon composite heat shield will keep the instruments behind it operating
at almost room temperature, even though it’s taking a beating from the sun’s heat and
It’ll withstand temperatures of 2,500 degrees fahrenheit and light 570 times more intense
than what we see on Earth.
The goal is to solve some baffling questions about the sun, like why does the solar wind
accelerate, and how can the corona be so hot?
Yes I know, the corona is hot because it’s near the sun, but it can reach up to over
3 million degrees F, while the sun’s surface peaks at “only” about eleven thousand.
That weird quirk has stumped astronomers, but after this seven year mission, they may
finally have an answer.
The knowledge gained on this trip could also improve our ability to predict solar weather
which would help us better protect satellites, power grids and future space missions from
destructive solar events.
This probe is not only hot, but a little heartwarming.
NASA announced at their press conference that the probe has been named the Parker Solar
Probe, after astrophysicist Eugene Parker.
There have been a handful of spacecraft named after important figures in the past, but at
just shy of 90 years old, Parker is the only one who has lived to see a mission bear his
Parker’s 1958 paper on solar wind challenged the conventional wisdom of the time and was
initially rejected.
But it turned out his predictions for the solar wind’s speed and temperature were
almost exactly right.
NASA’s saying that thanks to Parker’s influence in the field of heliophysics we’re
finally going to touch the sun.
Funny, you’d think for all the clever people at NASA like Parker, they would have realized
they could save themselves a lot of trouble and just launch a probe to the sun at night.
If you like our NASA updates, don’t miss this one where they announced Saturn’s moon
Enceladus might have everything necessary for extraterrestrial life!
Are you hyped for the Parker Space Probe or are you looking forward to another mission?
Let us know down in the comments, and don’t forget to subscribe and keep coming back
for more Seeker.


NASA Is Going to the Sun! But How...and Why?

119 タグ追加 保存
Ntiana 2017 年 11 月 21 日 に公開
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