Solar probe NASA Parker set a record, going to the beginning of this year in the Sun as the fastest spacecraft in history. He gained a speed of about 715 000 kilometers per hour. But his story is not over. Parker has already made its first flyby of the corona of the Sun, and NASA says that the performance of the probe is at the expected level. “Parker” is an important step for the space Agency that dreamed of studying the corona of the Sun at arm’s length for decades. However, the technology to protect the probe in this environment until recently simply did not exist.
It may seem unexpected, but the crown of ionized plasma around the Sun is much hotter than the surface of the star itself. According to estimates by NASA, the temperature in the corona is about one million Kelvin, 300 times more than on the surface.
Probe Parker touched the Sun
NASA developed an advanced heat shield, consisting of 4.5-inch carbon composite foam sandwiched between two sheets of carbon fiber, ensuring the safety of “Parker”. However, it was impossible to know exactly how it will work, until it reaches our home star. Nur Raoufi, is a scholar of the Parker Solar Probe project of the Johns Hopkins University, said that the spacecraft is “better than expected” after the first pass through the crown.
Parker passed through a crown between 31 October and 11 November. Scientists have been happy to see that Parker was able to stay in one pocket plasma for several days during transit, so was able to collect more data than we on Earth. Rotation of the Sun, it carries all the plasma itself, so the remote monitoring of structures over time becomes difficult. The heat shield that does not “Parker” of the melt also prevents the transfer of data, so “Parker” it will take a few orbits to transmit all new data.
NASA will take time to sort through all the information received from the probe. The team hopes to learn more about how the magnetic field of the sun and how its “weather” affects the Earth. Parker sent me some great pictures. In the picture above, made with the help of the WISPR instrument, shows the coronal flow with mercury, which glows bright point. Only Parker will carry 24 of the passage through the crown.
Have you ever wanted to land on the Sun? Tell us in our chat in Telegram.