Parker Solar probe: The first man made probe that will reach closest to the Sun

Parker Solar probe: The first man made probe that will reach closest to the Sun

We all know that the Sun is the primary source of the energy and light to the entire Solar system. We also know very well that the temperature of the Sun’s surface and even the many miles area around its surface is very hot. It’s not possible for any object to reach closer to its surface and to study the mechanism undergoes in it. But soon this will be possible because of the first man-made probe will reach closest to the Sun to tear down some mysteries regarding it. So in this article, you will know about the Parker solar probe: The first man-made probe that will reach closest to the Sun. So without any further ado, let’s get started.

What is Parker Solar probe?

Parker solar probe which launched on August 12, 2018, by the NASA. Parker Solar Probe which is traveling at the speed of 63,569 km/h (39,500 mph), will provide new data on solar activity and make critical contributions to our ability to forecast major space-weather events that impact life on Earth. The estimated cost of the project is US$1.5 billion.

The spacecraft’s systems are protected from the extreme heat and radiation near the Sun by a solar shield. The solar shield is hexagonal, mounted on the Sun-facing side of the spacecraft, 2.3 m (7.5 ft) in diameter, 11.4 cm (4.5 in) thick, and is made of reinforced carbon-carbon composite, which is designed to withstand temperatures outside the spacecraft of about 1,370 °C (2,500 °F).

Parker solar probe heat shield.Image credit: Phys.org

A white reflective alumina surface layer minimizes absorption. The spacecraft systems and scientific instruments are located in the central portion of the shield’s shadow, where direct radiation from the Sun is fully blocked. Parker Solar Probe will swoop to within 4 million miles of the sun’s surface, facing heat and radiation like no spacecraft before it.

The mission is named for Eugene Parker, the S. Chandrasekhar Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago. This is the first NASA mission that has been named for a living individual.

The objective of it?

The objectives of the mission are:

  • To study the flow of energy that heats the corona and accelerates the solar wind.
  • To study the structure and dynamics of the magnetic fields.
  • to study what mechanisms accelerate and transport energetic particles.

We have already known that the corona is hotter than the surface of the Sun. But why is it so we haven’t able to understand yet because we can only understand it by going closer to it and try to dig out. So this is the reason for this mission.

Parker solar probe. Image credit: Daily Mail

We still not completely able to understand that why is there a solar wind on the surface of the Sun and what causes it. We can only answer these questions by getting up close and personal with our star.

How is the solar wind accelerated?

The answers to these questions have been of top priority. Physics of the corona and inner heliosphere connect the activity of the sun to the environment and technological infrastructure of Earth will drive the fundamental physics of the heliosphere, Aurora, and magnetosphere of Earth and other planets help us to improve satellite communications, power grid issues, pipeline erosion, radiation exposure on airline flights, astronaut safety.

 

Until we can explain what is going on up close to the sun, we will not be able to accurately predict space weather effects that can cause havoc at Earth.

When will Parker hit the regime of the Sun?

2018: After the first Venus flyby, the probe will be in an elliptical orbit with a period of 150 days.

2019-2020: On the second flyby, the period shortens to 130 days. After less than two orbits (only 198 days later) it encounters Venus a third time at a point earlier in the orbit of Venus. This encounter shortens its period to about 112.5 days.

2021-2022: After two orbits it meets Venus a fourth time at about the same place, shortening its period to about 102 days. After 237 days it meets Venus for the fifth time and its period is shortened to about 96 days.

2023-2024: The sixth encounter, almost two years after the fifth, brings its period down to 92 days.

2025: After five more orbits (two orbits of Venus) it meets Venus for the seventh and last time, decreasing its period to 88 or 89 days and allowing it to approach closer to the Sun.

Timeline Velocity of Parker Solar Probe

So that’s it for today guys. Did you enjoy reading this article? If so, then please share it. If you have any suggestions and queries related to the post, let me know in the comment section below. Please do like and share this post to your near and dear ones to explore the knowledge you must know.

Thank you.

Anil Kashyap

I want to explore new things every single moment of life. Life motto: Learn and teach as much as you can until your last breath.

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