At the end of October, the rather modestly named Parker Solar Probe (PSP) fell within 42 million kilometers of the…
At the end of October, the rather modestly named Parker Solar Probe (PSP) fell within 42 million kilometers of the sun’s surface and became closest to the solar system center as a human object has ever reached.
Radiation caused by the solar wind of various particles sprayed by the sun is so intense that no available technology can last for a long time without being completely brutalized. Therefore, the PSP rounds the Sun into an eccentric loop that sweeps out as far as Venus’s track, whose gravity it will use several times for the edge ever closer to the sun. In fact, PSP, almost 2025, is scheduled to reach within 6 million kilometers, less than fifteen times the distance from Earth to Moon.
At first sight, the inner solar system is hardly the most glamorous region. There is almost nothing mysterious to wait for found, no planets to be visited. Centuries ago, it was assumed that there was a rogue planet called Vulcan, which was even closer to Mercury than with Mercury. This has long been contradictory. It has also been proposed that there are asteroids, “volcanoes”, dense pathways in mercury. These have never been found, and also seem very unlikely.
Everything that leaves is the overbearing sun.
The PSP approach is so close to the sun that it will enter the corona: the extremely hot aura of plasma and magnetic activity that shines the sun. Corona is the white-colored luster visible under total solar eclipses, when the moon completely blocks the otherwise dominant light of the sun itself. It is an extremely active region and one that is difficult to observe just because it is usually dominated by the rest of the sun. That’s part of why the PSP is still interesting; It goes into unknown space.
Although the sun is not the most exciting destination, it is an important issue. It is the solar system lamp, and the reason why any of us is here in the first place. The sun also releases a radiation storm that bombards the rest of the solar system. The earth is protected, but the same can not be said about what lies outside the Earth’s magnetic field. Coronal mass exuberances, events when large amounts of solar radiation are released at once can interfere with human communication and electronics.
The sun has a long history of space exploration. Pioneer 5 An invisible sphere of solar panels unluckily smashed on similar to a robot from Fallout more than a spacecraft, the first in 1
960, just three years after the beginning of space age. Pioneer 5 was located between the Earth and Venus, and observed, among other things, the solar wind radiation ray and particles that are constantly flowing from the corona.
] Other Sun-facing satellites followed: more Pioneers in the 1960s and 1970s; work as late as 1983, Solar Maximum Mission in 1980; Ulysses 1990; Yohkoh 1991; the extremely successful SOHO 1995 STEREO 2006 SDO 2010. What all these had in common, however, was that they worked remotely. Most solar observations are located in the earth’s orbit, or very close to the ground – or even further away. Ulysses, in an attempt to move its orbit from the solar system’s plan so that it could observe the polar areas of the Sun, flew far beyond Jupiter. The two Helios probes from the 1970s were exempt: they flew inward Mercury, and Helios 1 held the record to approach the sun until the much more bold PSP came.
] The PSP was proposed for the first time back in the 1990s, but the Bush administration’s funding changes led to the end of 2018. PSP may not go out, but it is still pushing new boundaries.