The US Space Agency (NASA) is planning the historic mission of the spacecraft Solar Probe Plus, which will be the first to enter the Sun’s atmosphere. No other human construct has ever reached the point of “touching” our star.
The spacecraft is expected to be launched in the summer of 2018 (between July 31st and August 19th) and, if everything goes well, the mission is expected to last about seven years. More details will be provided by NASA in an interview next week.
Solar Probe Plus will be placed in a “hot” orbit nearly six million kilometers from the Sun’s surface. To do this, it will need to do seven auxiliary passages near Venus over six years to gradually shrink his orbit around the Sun.
Ultimately, moving at 720,000 kilometers an hour, Solar Probe Plus will approach nearly seven times closer to the Sun than the current record holder, Helios. It will face temperatures around 1,400 degrees Celsius and radiation that no other vessel has ever encountered.
The vessel will study the Sun’s outer atmosphere (also known as the solar crown) and the solar “wind” of high-energy particles, making vital observations that are expected to give “first-hand” answers to decades of questions about the operation of Stars.
Among other things, these data will improve forecasts for the sudden and potentially dangerous changes in space weather, which may affect satellites, astronauts and the Earth’s electricity networks. Without early warning, scientists have been alerted to the risk that humanity may at some point find itself unpleasantly surprised. In total, the vessel is expected to complete 24 rounds around the parent of our solar system, each of which will last for 88 days.
The sun is a hot sphere of glowing hydrogen and solar gases that gives energy and life on earth. Though unique for us, billions of similar stars are scattered in our galaxy. The average diameter of the sun is about 109 times that of the earth and its rotation takes about 27 days on its equator. The temperature on its surface is estimated at 5,540 degrees Celsius, while its core at 15 million degrees Celsius.