NASA will soon make an announcement about their first mission to fly directly in the Sun’s atmosphere. NASA will host an event from the University of Chicago’s William Eckhardt Research Center Auditorium on Wednesday, May 31 at 11 am EDT. This will be around 8.30 pm IST. The event will be streamed live on NASA television and agency’s website.
NASA’s mission to the Sun is called Solar Probe Plus, which is scheduled to launch in the summer of 2018. The spacecraft will explore the sun’s outer atmosphere and make critical observations that will answer questions around how stars work, something which physicists, scientists have been trying to decode for years.
The Solar Probe Plus will be placed in the orbit within four million miles of the sun’s surface. NASA’s Solar Probe Plus will be the first spacecraft to face extreme heat and radiation. The data transmitted will improve forecasts of major space weather events that not only impact life on Earth, but also man-made satellites and astronauts in Space.
According to NASA, the surface temperature of the Sun is only about 5,500 degrees Celsius. However, the atmosphere above it is nearly two million degrees Celsius. The probe will also try and understand why the atmosphere is so hot.
NASA also bumped up their dates to launch their robotic spacecraft to a unique metal asteroid ‘Psyche’ in 2022 – a year ahead of the original schedule. Psyche is an asteroid orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter, made almost entirely of nickel-iron metal.
This spacecraft is part of NASA’s discovery programme which is a series of lower-cost, highly focused robotic space missions that are exploring the solar system.
With PTI inputs