Engineers Develop Solar Probe Plus

Extreme solar storm, solar flares
Extreme solar storm, solar flares

Solar Probe Plus will be an extraordinary and historic mission. Exploring what is arguably the last region of the solar system, visited by a spacecraft. The Sun’s outer atmosphere or corona as it extends out into space. Solar Probe Plus will repeatedly sample the near-Sun environment. Revolutionizing our knowledge, understanding of coronal heating and of the origin and evolution of the solar wind. This will answer critical questions in heliophysics that have been ranked as top priorities for decades. Moreover, by making direct, in-situ measurement of the region where some of the most hazardous solar energetic particles are energized. Solar Probe Plus will make a fundamental contribution. Our ability to characterize and forecast the radiation environment, in which future space explorers will work and live.

First Visit To a Star

Two of the transformative advances in our understanding of the Sun and influence on the solar system. Discovery that the corona , which is several hundreds of times hotter than the visible solar surface (the photosphere) . The development and observational confirmation theory of the corona’s supersonic expansion into interplanetary space as a “solar wind.”

Engineers Followed Milestones In Solar and Space Physics.

In the decades that have followed these important milestones in solar and space physics. Composition, properties, and structure of the solar wind have been extensively measured. High heliolatitudes as well as in the ecliptic and at distances far beyond the orbit of Pluto. The corona and the transition region above the photosphere have been imaged with unprecedentedly high resolution. Revealing a complex architecture of loops and arcades. While, Photospheric magnetography has uncovered the “magnetic carpet” of fine-scale flux bundles that is underlying. Observational, advances have been accompanied by advances in theory and modeling. Notwithstanding, a broad range of models offering plausible and competing scenarios, explaining coronal heating and solar wind acceleration.

Corona and the Solar Wind

In the end, more is known of the corona and the solar wind than ever. Yet the two fundamental questions raised in the 1940s, by the discovery of the corona’s million-degree temperature. Equally, early 1960s proof of the supersonic solar wind’s existence, remain unanswered. Why is the solar corona so much hotter than the photosphere? How is the solar wind accelerated?

Answers to Questions

As a matter of fact, answers to these questions can be obtained only through in-situ measurements of the solar wind down in the corona. A mission to provide these measurements, to probe the near-Sun particles-and fields environment. First recommended in 1958, at the dawn of the space age, by the National Academy of Science’s “Simpson Committee.” NASA has since, conducted several studies of possible implementations of a Solar Probe mission. A Solar Probe has remained, at the top of various National Academy and NASA science priority lists.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top