Launching in 2018 NASA will be sending for the first time a probe to have a nosey at our Sun. The probe, recently renamed to honour Physicist Eugene Parker, is aptly called Parker Solar Probe.
Eugene Parker was the chappy whom firsttheorised that the sun constantly sends out a flow of particles and energy called the solar wind. In 1958, Parker then a young professor at the university’s Enrico Fermi Institute published an article in the Astrophysical Journal called “Dynamics of the interplanetary gas and magnetic fields.” Parker believed there was high speed matter and magnetism constantly escaping the sun, and that it affected the planets and space throughout our solar system.
This phenomenon, now known as the solar wind, has been proven to exist repeatedly through direct observation. Parker’s work forms the basis for much of our understanding about how stars interact with the worlds that orbit them.
Parker Solar Probe is on track for launch during a 20-day window that opens July 31, 2018. The mission is part of NASA’s Living With a Star program to explore aspects of the sun-Earth system that directly affect life and society.
The sun is the center of our solar system and makes up 99.8 percent of the mass of the entire solar system.
The mission has been in the works according to NASA Goddard for 60 years. The Sun is the only star that we can study up close and by studying it we can better understand the other stars in the universe. The Sun is also the source of dangerous solar winds that can shake Earth’s magnetic fields, disrupt our satellites, endanger astronauts, and even affect technology on Earth’s surface. Being able to predict this activity could prevent disaster. These same solar winds spread throughout our entire solar system and understanding them will be an important step in safely sending astronauts further from home. Apart from that it is the source of light and heat on planet Earth and is essential to the survival of life as we know it.
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