Nothing is impossible in this world. But NASA is about to update this saying to, “Nothing is impossible in this universe” as the space agency is set to send a probe near the sun to examine and analyse the solar surroundings.
NASA will send a spacecraft, the size of a small car, named The Parker Solar probe to the solar corona. The little spacecraft is to be launched from Cape Canaveral and the approximate date of launch has turned out to be August 6. “To send a probe where you haven’t been before is ambitious. To send it into such brutal conditions is highly ambitious,” said Nicola Fox, a project scientist from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Earlier, Helios 2 probe has been passed by the Sun to an approx proximity of 27 million miles. However, The Parker Solar probe is about to reach within the range of 3.8 million miles from the solar surface, several times closer than the Helios 2 has been.
The solar corona induces a incessant flow of electrically charged particles flowing around in our solar system. However this flow of particles, i.e. the solar winds seems to be harmful to the communication systems of earth. The purpose of this spacecraft is prediction of these solar winds and their probable effect on earth’s atmosphere. According to Alex Young, one of the scientists at NASA, the prediction of earth’s space weather is as important as the prediction of the weather here on earth, as in some cases of space weather fluctuations, our power grids may get affected.
The price of this probe is estimated to be $1.5 billion dollars and as it will have to survive extremely drastic conditions, it has been covered with heat shields to keep its parts safe from heat. This probe is named after astrophysicist Newman Parker. This probe will use seven Venus flybys over nearly seven years to steadily reduce its orbit around the Sun, and as soon as it stabilizes its orbit, the solar wind imaging will start and the electric and magnetic fields, coronal plasma and energetic particles will be studied.