NASA | NASA’s Parker Solar probe has “touched” the Sun for the first time. | Source: Getty Images
NASA’s Parker Solar probe became the first spacecraft to pass through the atmosphere of the Sun.
The Parker Solar probe NASA first entered the solar upper atmosphere (or corona) on 25 last April, but it took several months to receive and verify the data.
According to NASA officials , who compared the event to the moon landing, this mission will help scientists better understand the history of the Sun and its influence on the solar system. The Parker Solar probe will also allow scientists to better understand the ” switchbacks ”(or“ recoils ”), mysterious zigzag magnetic structures which, according to the data recorded by the probe, are born on the surface of the Sun.
D ‘ after Nour Raoufi , a scientist working on the project, the upper atmosphere of the Sun appeared dustier than expected .
Spacecraft can hardly approach the Sun due to its strong magnetic field and the temperature of its surface ( approximately 5500 ° C ). Launched in 1976, the Parker Solar probe should allow NASA to observe the star closer. Traveling at a speed of about 42 km / s , the NASA probe should succeed in approaching within 6.4 million kilometers from the surface of the Sun. The previous record was held by the Helios2 probe , which had passed to 42, 7 million kilometers from the Sun in 1976.
While the Pioneer spacecraft 10 and 11 carried aluminum plates on which were inscribed the wishes of humanity, the Parker Solar probe carries a memory card containing 1.1 million names submitted by the public .
The Parker Solar probe takes its name from the astrophysicist Eugene Parker , who theorized the existence of the solar wind. This is therefore the first NASA mission bearing the name of a living personality.
In total, and until its final orbit in 2025, the probe should enter and exit the solar corona 25 times
Article translated from Forbes US – Author: Zachary Snowdon Smith
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