Remember the science fiction movie ‘Sunshine‘ by Danny Boyle in which a crew of eight astronauts with a giant nuclear solar bomb take an impossible mission to the Sun to save it from dying? Well, NASA is planning to something similar (relax, the Sun is not dying). The American space agency is sending a special probe mission to the Sun that will help the mankind to gain a better understanding of the star.
The mission called the ‘Parker Solar Probe‘ is scheduled to take off in the summer of 2018 will travel over 140 million km to be placed in an orbit within four million miles of the Sun’s surface. The spacecraft will explore Sun’s outer atmosphere to help the scientists answer the unanswered question– how stars work? Apart from this, the mission will also help the scientists to make better weather forecasts about the space weather events that impact the astronauts in space, the satellites and life on Earth.
Needless to say that Parker Solar Probe mission will endure the conditions that no other spacecraft in the history of space research has ever faced, which includes intense radiation and temperature above 5,00,000 degrees Celcius.
The spacecraft will be loaded with high-tech equipments (don’t worry, no humans) that will help the scientists to find out why Sun’s Corona (which is the outermost region of the Sun), is hotter than its surface.
Interestingly, the mission has been named in honour of astrophysicist Eugene Parker, who predicted the presence of solar winds nearly 60 years ago in an article in 1958. “The solar probe is going to a region of space that has never been explored before. It’s very exciting that we’ll finally get a look. One would like to have some more detailed measurements of what’s going on in the solar wind. I’m sure that there will be some surprises. There always are,” Parker said in a statement, NASA wrote.
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