Two days ago at dawn, the Parker solar probe was launched into space, a NASA mission that will try to unveil the still unresolved paradoxes of our Sun.
Approximately the size of a small car, the Parker mission is the first to be named after a living scientist (Eugene Parker, an astrophysicist at the University of Chicago who was the first to theorize about the existence of the solar wind in 1958) , and is also the first to try to “kiss” the top layer of the Sun’s crown.
Two hours after its launch, NASA reported that the ship was in perfect condition and operated normally. During this week, it will deploy its antennas and magnetic arm. Instrument tests will begin in early September and will last approximately one month.
This probe, which will begin transmitting its observations in December, promises to help solve mysteries of stellar astrophysics. For example, why, with more than one million degrees, the crown, that thin outer zone of the solar atmosphere, is about 300 times hotter than the surface, which is thousands of kilometers below and in which the temperature around 6000 degrees?(Parker Solar Probe)
It will also measure the star’s magnetic field, catalog the ingredients of the solar wind (a flow of charged particles, mostly protons and electrons) and send photos of the corona with details impossible to capture at 150 million kilometers, the distance that separates the Earth del Sol. For this, it should approach a little over six million kilometers and withstand a scorching 1300 or 1400 degrees.(Parker Solar Probe)
Although there were other missions that sent data from the Sun (such as the Pioneer ships, the Helios, the Ulysses and the Stereo), this is the first that will come so close and will offer answers to better understand the solar wind, a rain of particles that if the Earth did not have the magnetic field that protects us (something that happens on Mars, which lost it) could wreak havoc.
It would be like being exposed to massive doses of continuous radiation, which would cause cancer and malformations. Scientists have been searching for answers for more than 60 years to understand the supersonic wind blowing through the entire solar system at around 1,600,000 kilometers per hour, solar storms and particles that the star spits at unimaginable speeds.(Parker Solar Probe)
“This mission really marks humanity’s first visit to a star that will have implications not only here on Earth, but also in how we understand the universe,” says Thomas Zurbuchen, scientific co-director of the mission, in a NASA statement. -. We achieved something that for decades belonged solely to the field of science fiction. “
The findings of this ambitious exploration are expected to help improve forecasts of space weather events, which can damage satellites and also orbiting astronauts, disrupt radio communications and overload power networks. We will be aware of the news … see the following video and leave us your comment below!