For the first time in history, a NASA spacecraft has reached the solar atmosphere, allowing human technology to touch the sun.
“NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has now travelled through the Sun’s upper atmosphere, the corona, sampling particles and magnetic fields,” NASA said in a statement.
The achievement will aid researchers in learning more about the sun and its massive impact on the solar system, where it is both the centre and the largest object.
“Not only does this milestone give us a better understanding of our sun’s evolution and its effects on our solar system, but everything we learn about our own star also teaches us more about stars in the rest of the universe,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
☀️ Our #ParkerSolarProbe has touched the Sun!— NASA (@NASA) December 14, 2021
For the first time in history, a spacecraft has flown through the Sun's atmosphere, the corona. Here's what it means: https://t.co/JOPdn7GTcv
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe passed into and through the solar corona, the Sun’s upper atmosphere, on April 28, 2021. Not only did it survive – showing the effectiveness of Parker’s high-tech heat shielding – but it also took in situ measurements, providing us with a trove of never-before-seen data on our Solar System’s core.
The Parker Solar Probe was launched in 2018 with the primary goal of studying the solar corona. It should make a total of 26 close approaches, or perihelions, to the Sun over the course of its seven-year mission, employing a total of seven gravity assist manoeuvres from Venus to bring it closer. The perihelion in April was the seventh and first to penetrate the corona.
Parker recorded variations in the Sun’s magnetic field and sampled particles during his nearly five-hour stay inside the solar atmosphere. Previously, we depended on external data to estimate these qualities.
“Magnetic field measurements, solar wind data, and photos all provide evidence of being in the corona. The spacecraft can be seen travelling through coronal structures that can be seen during a total solar eclipse.”
Scientists will be able to see into an area that is crucial for superheating the corona and propelling the solar wind to supersonic speeds thanks to the data that will be released soon.
The Parker Solar Probe was launched in 2018 with the goal of delving deeper into the mysteries of the sun than any previous spacecraft.
Parker has finally come three years after its introduction and decades after its creation.
Over the span of seven years, the spacecraft will complete two dozen orbits around the sun.
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