Sci-tech

NASA Intends to Deliver a Robotic Craft to the Sun in 2018

NASA Intends to Deliver a Robotic Craft to the Sun in 2018”

"Without advance warning a huge solar event could cause two trillion dollars in damage in the USA alone, and the eastern seaboard of the U.S. could be without power for a year", the Solar Probe Mission team informed.

Solar Probe Plus will be protected from the Sun's scorching heat by a specially designed 4.5-inch (11.4 cm) thick carbon-composite shield capable of withstanding temperatures up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1,370 degrees Celsius). Solar Probe Plus will revolutionize our knowledge of the physics of the origin and evolution of the solar wind. The probe will be launched in 2018 and will stay almost four million miles from solar surface. Now NASA wants to send a spacecraft to "touch the sun".

"This is going to be our first mission to fly to the sun". The sun's volume would need 1.3 million Earths to fill it.

Eric Christian, a NASA research scientist at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt told Live Science. The sun surface is about 10,000 degrees, downright chilly compared to its atmosphere that cooks at 3.5 million degrees.

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NASA scientists say that surface temperature of Sun is pretty low at 5,500 degrees Celsius; however, solar atmosphere is very hot at two million degrees Celsius.

"You would think the farther away you get from a heat source, you would get colder".

Christian said researcher hope to get answers to other questions, like solar wind speeds and why the sun occasionally emits high-energy particles, called solar energetic particles, that could endanger unprotected astronauts and spacecraft.

In addition, the probe will have special heat tubes called thermal radiators that will radiate heat that permeates the heat shield to open space, "so it doesn't go to the instruments, which are sensitive to heat", Christian said. The distance between planet earth and the sun is about 93 million miles or 149 million kilometers.

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Third, NASA hopes the probe will identify the causes of the Sun's intermittent emissions of high-energy solar energetic particles, which are potentially risky to unprotected satellites, spacecraft, and astronauts.

The probe will also have special heat tubes known as thermal radiators, created to radiate any heat that permeates the heat shield so as to protect the sensitive instruments inside.

If these protections work as expected, the instruments in the probe will stay at room temperature, Christian concluded. Data will be key to understanding and, perhaps, forecasting space weather.

Unlike landing probes on Mars and Moon, scientists can not land a probe on the Sun, but they will try to make the closest approach to the Sun while keeping the spacecraft alive.

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