Tech UPTechnologyParker probe 'touches' the Sun for the first time...

Parker probe 'touches' the Sun for the first time in history

A new milestone for science: A NASA spacecraft has officially “touched” the Sun , sinking through the hitherto unexplored solar atmosphere known as the corona.

Nour Raouafi, a project scientist at Johns Hopkins University, described the news as “fascinatingly exciting.”

The space probe set off in 2018 on a historic mission to study our star. It battled temperatures of over 2,000 ° C and radiation 500 times stronger than on Earth when it made its eighth approach to the celestial body, finally passing through its upper atmosphere. Although the flight took place in April, scientists had to wait to confirm that Parker traveled through the corona, after the months it took for data from the spacecraft to arrive.


We have touched the sun

“This milestone not only provides us with a deeper insight into the evolution of our Sun and (its) impacts on our solar system, but everything we learn about our own star also teaches us more about stars in the rest of the universe. ” says Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, in a statement at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

The spacecraft’s passage through the solar corona has enabled unprecedented sampling of its magnetic fields and particles, opening a new chapter in the field of solar science and our understanding of how the solar system formed. One of the goals is to learn more about how energy and heat travel through the Sun’s atmosphere; something that can reveal clues to how life developed on Earth and how other stars arose around the universe.



On its journey into the Sun’s upper atmosphere , the Parker space probe has set a series of records : it has become the fastest object ever made; it reached a speed of 586,864 km / h. (Fast enough to go around the Earth 13 times in a single hour). Mind you, it will exceed these figures once again later this year after once again using Venus to get closer to the Sun at speeds much higher than ever.

“Flying so close to the Sun, Parker is able to detect conditions in the magnetically dominated layer of the solar atmosphere, the corona, that we have never been able to observe before,” said astrophysicist Nour Raouafi, Parker project scientist at the Laboratory of Applied Physics. Johns Hopkins. “We can actually see the spacecraft flying through coronal structures that can be observed during a total solar eclipse.”

Throughout his seven-year mission, Parker will make a total of 26 approaches to the star using various gravity assist maneuvers from Venus to bring it closer and closer. This has been the eighth and the one that has really penetrated the crown. The space probe will keep getting closer and closer to the sun and plunging deeper into the corona until its final great orbit in 2025.

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