NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, first ever mission to “Touch the Sun”

Tags: Science and Technology

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, first ever mission to “Touch the Sun”

The Parker Solar Probe of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA’s) of the United States, became the  first manmade object to touch the  Sun’s upper atmosphere, the Corona, for the first time in human history.

  •  It was launched by NASA on 12th August 2018, from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida on board  the Delta IV-Heavy launch vehicle.
  • Parker Solar Probe actually flew through the corona (Alfven point) on 28th April 2021 during the spacecraft's eighth close approach to the sun.
  • It was designed and built by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.
  • It has been named so to honour nonagenarian American astrophysicist Eugene Newman Parker, who developed the theory of the supersonic solar wind and predicted the Parker spiral shape of the solar magnetic field in the outer Solar System.

The probe passed by at a ridiculous speed of 363,660 mph, making it the fastest artificial object ever created.

The primary science goals for the mission are to trace how energy and heat move through the solar corona and to explore what accelerates the solar wind as well as solar energetic particles. 

India’s first Mission to study the Sun:

Aditya or Aditya-L1 is a planned coronagraphy spacecraft to study solar atmosphere, currently being designed and developed by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and various other Indian research institutes.

  • It is planned to be launched in the third quarter of 2022 aboard a PSLV-XL launch vehicle.
  • The spacecraft will study coronal heating, solar wind acceleration, coronal magnetometry, origin and monitoring of near-UV solar radiation and continuously observe photosphere, chromosphere and corona, solar energetic particles and magnetic field of the Sun.

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